Victory for PCC’s campaign for stronger police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments

The Government has responded to David Jamieson's campaign to increase powers to respond to the issue of unauthorised traveller encampments.

The PCC began his campaign after major concerns were raised by MPs, Councillors and local residents about the issue of unauthorised traveller encampments.

The current system is failing both local residents and traveller communities. 

The Government report published yesterday, outlines plans to amend current legislation and now plan to enact many of the PCC's proposals. The PCC has worked closely with Ministers and civil servants on this issue.   

Government will seek approval to allow police to direct trespassers to suitable authorised sites in neighbouring local authority areas.

Currently, police only have the power to direct trespassers to sites within the same local authority area.

The response also promises to increase the time in which trespassers directed from land are unable to return. From 3 months to 12 months.

This change provides greater protection to land which is repeatedly targeted by the same group of trespassers.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and Members of Parliament submitted a joint letter to the consultation back in June 2018, outlining key legislative recommendations and have been consistently campaigning on the issue for several years.

Their recommendations called for greater police powers to respond to unauthorised encampments.

The Government response has endorsed many of the proposed legislative proposals by the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner's office.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, who has been a long-term campaigner for better powers to tackle unauthorised encampments, said:

"This is a victory for the West Midlands. The current system is failing everyone and change is long overdue.

"I have been campaigning for tougher powers to tackle unauthorised encampments for some time. I have held summits and worked very closely with local MPs of all parties, in particular Pat McFadden, Steve McCabe and Richard Burden. I welcome the Government's response and am pleased that they have listened to the West Midlands and plan to enact many of our proposals.

"Many of the recommendations we made in 2017 and 2018 have been taken on board, including the ability for police to direct unauthorised encampments to transit sites across local council boundaries and tougher powers to stop repeat trespass on business premises.      

"I now urge the government to enact these proposals as soon as possible and to ensure that local councils have the necessary funding to manage this issue."

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is now committed to working with Government to ensure the proposed legislative changes are approved by Parliament.