Police Given New Laws To Deal With Unwanted Caravanners

The police are set to fight back against illegal caravan parking
The police are set to fight back against illegal caravan parking

Friday, 08, Nov 2019 10:33

By William Coleman

Police will now be given the power to take action against travellers who use any land they want as their own personal caravan park no matter who owns that land. These new rulings will give police the ability to seize their leisure vehicles if they camp illegally on private land.

For as long as I can remember the area I live in has had issues with the travelling, not touring, community parking up wherever they want and causing a lot of disruption. It has become such an issue that most of the fields and parks have had to put in large grass verges to prevent them from pitching up. A cost which the local council has had to foot the bill for.

Another large issue that is often created by the travelling community is the sheer amount of waste and rubbish that they leave behind. It is this kind of thing that tends to leave people with a negative view toward caravans and travellers as a whole. Just to clarify, not all of the travelling community are like this.

I have had to set a few people straight before when it comes to tarring all caravan users with the same brush. It seems there is a number of people who are just ignorant when it comes to caravans and those who own them.

A lot of the negativity has stemmed from the police not really have any real power to stop travellers from staying wherever they want, thus deeming them kind of untouchable in the eyes of the law. This has led to the population being very angry and sometimes quite hostile toward the travelling community.

Now with the introduction of new laws the police will have the tools they need to deal with this issue and provide landowners with legal rights that they should have had a long time ago.

Police will now be able to actually arrest travellers as well as impound vehicles that are illegally parked on private land. It is now a criminal offence to occupy any land without permission with the intention of setting up home there.

The current law, which leaves landowners pretty much powerless as it sees this trespassing as a civil matter. This more often than not leaves the owner with a clean up costs, legal costs and sometimes a whole heap of garbage left over.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has now drawn up a proposal that will arm police with the power to strike instantly to remove the offenders and their property.

Priti Patel spoke with The Sun last week and said: "Unauthorised encampments can cause misery to those who live nearby, with reports of damage to property, noise, abuse and littering.

"The public want their communities protected and for the police to crack down on trespassers.

"Our proposals aim to ensure these encampments can be challenged and removed as quickly as possible."

The aim is to have a similar system to that of countries like the Republic of Ireland where "unauthorised encampment" is a criminal offence.

The Home Secretary is looking to local councils, police forces, travellers, communities and the public for other views of how to deal with this situation.

Other ideas have included lowering the number of vehicles needed before police can act from six to two and giving officers power to direct offenders to official sites in neighbouring authorities.

These new changes to policing will allow police to remove those who are trespassing on or beside a road and increase the time during which offenders are banned from returning from three months to a year.

Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT), a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers, said: "We completely oppose the Home Office announcement of a consultation on criminalising trespass. It is clear that the proposals would have a devastating impact on Gypsy and Traveller communities, who have been part of British life since before the 16th century, yet face some of the greatest inequalities of any group in England and Wales.

"The Home Secretary's assertions that unauthorised encampments "cause misery to those who live nearby, with reports of damage to property, noise, abuse and littering" focus on the behaviour of a minority, yet tar all Gypsies and Travellers with the same brush. This is dangerous and discriminatory rhetoric. If property damage, noise, abuse and littering truly are the Home Office's concerns, we know that there already exists reams of criminal law to prevent and punish this.

"It is no coincidence that this announcement comes in the wake of a general election. If there was a real appetite to address the issue of unauthorised encampments, the government would have invested in site provision. Yet, for over a decade we have seen little to no progress in this area. Criminalising families who have no place to go is inhumane and wrong."

So it does boil down to the bad image a few within the travelling community have created. Not all travellers or gypsies, I hate that word, are the type who pull up in a Tesco car park and just cause issues and leave rubbish. Even if they do use car parks like this there is very little that can be done as this is technically public land.

But it is those who cause all these issues that people are concerned about and it is those individuals who should be concerned by these new laws.

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