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PC13-19 | Strengthening Police Powers to Tackle Unauthorised Encampments

Summary

The Home Office has issued a new consultation on strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments. The consultation covers criminalising the act of trespassing, broadening the existing categories of criminal trespass and broadening police powers to deal with trespassers. The main consultation document can be found here.

Context

The government previously consulted on unauthorised developments and encampments in April 2018. Responses to this made clear that significant problems are created by many unauthorised encampments, including the sense of unease and intimidation residents feel when an unauthorised encampment occurs, the frustration at not being able to access amenities, public land and business premises, and the waste and cost that is left once the encampment has moved on.

The government also heard compelling evidence that stronger powers are needed to address the issues and concerns identified and that the majority of respondents believe the government should consider criminalising unauthorised encampments in England and Wales, by creating an offence of trespassing when setting up an unauthorised encampment. The government would now like to test the appetite to go further and broaden the existing categories of criminal trespass.

NALC’s views

NALC is minded to use points made in response to the April 2018 consultation, as a steer to guide our new response. These include:  

  • All cases of unauthorised encampments should be criminalised on account of trespassing
  • The police should have the power to direct trespassers to leave land as soon as it has been determined that they are there illegally
  • The police should be able to take action regardless of the number of vehicles in the unauthorised encampment
  • Principal authorities should have the power to demand the police attend as soon as an unauthorised encampment appears and to claim back costs incurred repairing damage caused by clearing up after unauthorised encampments

Consultation questions

 NALC will be responding to the consultation questions in the document linked below and is interested in the sector’s views:

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