Crime commissioner welcomes new police powers on unauthorised encampments

The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex has welcomed the government’s decision to introduce a new criminal offence and extend existing powers for police to tackle unauthorised encampments

Roger Hirst said: “Unauthorised encampments cause significant harm to communities, can leave landowners and councils with huge bills for tidying up and create unnecessary tension between communities.”

“This recent announcement that a new criminal offence will be introduced and existing powers extended to tackle unauthorised encampments is good news for our county. It also demonstrates that by working together with our rural communities we can make our voices heard and secure the change we need to make our county safer.”

“Over the last four years, we have worked hard with our rural communities and councils across Essex to provide a much more consistent and robust response to handling unauthorised encampments. In 2017 we developed the first shared protocol establishing how each organisation would work together to manage and respond quickly and effectively.

“In 2017 we provided the funding to establish the Essex Police Rural Engagement Team and in 2019 we provided the funding to double the size of this team. Through this good, partnership work we have reduced the number of unauthorised encampments in Essex from 229 in 2018 to 142 in 2020.

“However, we can and should do more and that is why I added my voice, along with our local MPs, for a change in the law so that our police have more powers to deal with these situations.”

You can read the government response to the consultation ‘Strengthening Police Powers to Tackle Unauthorised Encampments” via the link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967164/Gov_Response_to_Consultation_UEs.pdf

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]