Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch has welcomed the Government’s response to a 2018 consultation on unauthorised traveller encampments. The response commits to enhancing police powers in an effort to help deal with these types of encampments, a promise made in the Conservatives 2019 manifesto.
The new proposals by the Home Office are set to criminalise a variety of offences in a bid to aid police and communities in the removal of unlawful encampments- a process which can currently be distressing, costly and time-consuming for residents and local councils.
It is expected that these measures will greatly support the work of Essex Police to tackle the problem whilst still protecting the rights of those who wish to live a nomadic way of life or enjoy the countryside throughout England.
The Home Office proposals would make it a criminal offence for a person aged 18 or over to reside or intend to reside on land without consent of the occupier of the land, have or intend to have at least one vehicle with them on the land, cause or likely to cause significant damage, disruption of distress, amongst a number of other measures.
Commenting, Mrs Badenoch said: “I am proud to be able to deliver on my 2019 manifesto promise to enhance our police’s ability to tackle unauthorised encampments.
“Essex Police continue to work hard to deal with these encampments across Chelmsford and Uttlesford and this will give them greater powers to keep our communities safe, something residents have called for and a matter I have previously raised with ministerial colleagues.
“Unauthorised sites do an injustice to the vast majority of travellers and nomads who abide by the law and it is not right that a small minority should be able to continue to create a negative image of them and cause to distress and concern to local residents.”
The full consultation response can be found here: Government response to the consultation 'Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments' (accessible version) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)