Illegal encampment new legislation planned. "I welcome the stricter stance taken. Law abiding residents and businesses have the right to peaceful enjoyment and protection of their property. They should feel that the law is on their side." says Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Derbyshire, Angelique Foster.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel is set to announce new legislation that will make it a criminal offence to intentionally set up a camp and trespass on private land.
The legislation will give police power to fine those who intentionally break the law by up to £2,500 and include the possibility of a three-month prison sentence.
Currently landowners face legal battles and court costs to evict travellers from their sites because trespass remains a civil offence.
Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate, Angelique Foster commented: "Residents have spoken to me about the issue of illegal encampments for many months. It is a real concern for people across the County. I know this new legislation will be welcome by many residents and land owners. I look forward to seeing the details of the proposal when they are presented to Parliament.
This will be similar to legislation introduced in the Republic of Ireland in 2002 and will fulfil one of the Conservatives' manifesto commitments. I am fully support the government's strong action."
The new Criminal Justice Bill will authorise the police to take enforcement action against two illegally parked vehicles. The current number is six. The police would also be able to take action to prevent any damage, disruption or distress to landowners.
It is expected that the law will allow police enforcement against anyone over 18 who fails to vacate a private property when asked to do so by the landowner or police. Those found to be illegally occupying the property will also be barred from returning for at least twelve months.
Angelique Foster added ”Law-abiding residents and businesses in Derbyshire have the right to peaceful enjoyment and protection of their property. They should feel that the law is on their side. This is absolutely the right thing for the government to do.
If elected as Derbyshire next Police and Crime Commissioner, I will fully support our police force and local authorities to clampdown on illegal encampments. I will also work closely with local authorities to find transit sites and monitor the permanent pitches. On my watch, I would never turn a blind eye to illegal trespass on private property.”
It is also important to point out that many established traveller communities are law abiding and are equally as annoyed with those travellers who trespass and break the law, as those sites often give an unfair, negative image of their whole community. It is estimated that there are some 23000 traveller caravans in England, of which only 14% are parked on unauthorised sites.