West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden have led a group of 15 MPs to call on the government to give police and councils stronger powers to deal with unauthorised traveller encampments.
In an official response to the government’s consultation, the PCC and 15 West Midlands MPs have called for:
- Stronger powers to allow police to direct unauthorised encampments to transit sites across local council boundaries.
- Repeat trespass on private (including business) premises by unauthorised encampments to be made a criminal offence.
- Allow councils to work together across boundaries to ban problematic individuals from trespassing across whole regions like the West Midlands.
- The government to ensure laws are working to make fly-tippers pay for clean-up costs.
West Midlands Police have faced a doubling of 999 and 101 calls relating to unauthorised encampments in the last 2 years.
Since the introduction of a transit site in Sandwell there has been a sharp reduction in the number of unauthorised encampments in the borough.
The PCC and MPs have made their call after meeting with Government Minsters Alok Sharma MP and Marcus Jones MP.
During that meeting they committed to working closely with the PCC and local MPs.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said,
“A majority of MPs in the region have come together with me to call on the government to tighten up the law to give the police and councils the powers we need to tackle unauthorised encampments. This collective call is larger than anywhere else in the country.
“The current system is failing everyone that is why with Pat McFadden I have brought together MPs from across the region to tackle the issue.
“We’ve been working closely with the government who have welcomed our proposals so far.
“I am confident that by tightening up the law we can make a big difference.”
MP for Wolverhampton South East, Pat McFadden said,
“We need urgent changes to prevent the pattern of repeated illegal traveller encampments that affects much of our region. These cause huge inconvenience and frustration to local people and significant cost to local taxpayers. It should be easier for the authorities to move camps on and those responsible for causing damage and engaging in fly tipping should pay the costs. In this document we suggest a number of changes in response to the Government consultation. It is important that such changes are implemented with the consent of local residents and not simply imposed.”
Signatories to the response:
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
Pat McFadden MP
Wolverhampton South East
Adrian Bailey MP
West Bromwich West
Colleen Fletcher MP
Coventry North East
Emma Reynolds MP
Wolverhampton North East
Geoffrey Robinson MP
Coventry North West
Ian Austin MP
Jack Dromey MP
Jess Phillips MP
Jim Cunningham MP
John Spellar MP
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Richard Burden MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
Steve McCabe MP
Birmingham Selly Oak
Valerie Vaz MP