On Monday 19th April, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma held an online event to discuss the impact of Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill on Gypsy and Traveller communities in England and Wales.
The event was chaired by APPG Vice Chair Andy Slaughter MP, with speakers Chris Johnson of Community Law Partnership; Violet Cannon of York Traveller’s Trust and Chair of Moving for Change; and Sam Grant from Liberty.
The event bought together Members of Parliament, legal experts and people from Gypsy and Traveller communities in order to understand:
- Part 4 of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill and current powers for roadside camps
- The impact that the proposed criminalisation of trespass on Gypsy and Traveller communities and positive solutions to supporting community traditions of nomadism
- The erosion of rights in the Bill and the threat to human rights protections for minority groups.
Speaking at the event, Andy Slaughter MP as Vice-Chair of the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma said:
“We would be foolish to pretend this Bill is anything other than both punitive and regressive, or that once again we’re seeing the targeting and scapegoating of Gypsy and Traveller communities. That is depressing, but what isn’t depressing is the coming together of Gypsy and Traveller communities, their supporters, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to combat these proposals, to raise awareness of discrimination suffered by Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, and to put together the positive case for sites and stopping places and better support from national and local Government.”
Speaking after the event, Abbie Kirkby, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“We would like to express our thanks to each of the parliamentarians who joined us to hear from individuals and legal experts making the case against the criminalisation of trespass. As we heard at the event, these proposals are deeply concerning for individuals and families who live nomadically and who continue to pursue cultural traditions that have been practiced generation after generation. We are pleased to have seen a growing understanding of the importance of this amongst parliamentarians but we urge individuals to continue contact to their MP outlining their concerns regarding the Policing Bill and protecting the rights of Gypsies and Travellers.”
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Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background. FFT acts as the Secretariat to the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma.
Sami McLaren, Communications Officer
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]
‘Briefing on new police powers for encampments in Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Part 4’. Friends, Families and Travellers. March 2021. View here.
‘The criminalisation of trespass’. The Community Law Partnership. March 2021. View here.