The APCC's position on criminalisation of trespass
In recent weeks, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) has been referenced during Parliamentary debates on the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill – specifically policing’s attitude towards illegal encampments.
Some MPs have quoted from a joint submission made by the NPCC and APCC to a Government consultation on Powers for Dealing with Unauthorised Development and Encampments. That submission was made back in June 2018 and no longer represents a consensus view among PCCs.
To clarify the APCC's updated position on the criminalisation of trespass, chair Paddy Tipping has said: "Since 2018, PCCs have heard strong representations on both sides of the argument and now PCCs have a number of different views on the subject. Some maintain that criminalisation could adversely impact policing resources, and be at odds with equality and human rights legislation. Others support the criminalisation of trespass with the intention to reside, believing it would enable swift action to be taken against unauthorised encampments, and prevent problems such as anti-social behaviour before they occur.
"Reflecting the diverse range of views from PCCs, the APCC’s submission to the Government’s more recent consultation on Strengthening Police Powers to Tackle Unauthorised Encampments, sent in March 2020, stated that the APCC position on criminalisation of trespass is neither agree nor disagree. Our submission also noted where there is strong consensus amongst PCCs - that action should be taken not only to address the issue of unauthorised encampments but also the issues that lead to unauthorised encampments in the first place. Local authorities, working with partners and communities, need to make sure sufficient legal sites are available in their areas."