In May, Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) made a submission to the Public Bill Committee, calling for the removal of Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSC Bill).
The submission, which can be seen in full here, outlines the context to roadside camps and highlights the likely impact of the criminalisation of trespass on Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Under current proposals, Part 4 of the PCSC Bill would result in ‘trespass’ changing from a civil to a criminal offence, as well as additional powers for police to deal with roadside camps.
The criminalisation of trespass will mean:
- Only one (1) vehicle will be required to be on the land before the new powers will apply once the triggering conditions are met;
- A £2500 fine or time in prison or the vehicle (someone’s home and belongings) being confiscated;
FFT’s submission draws attention to existing police powers which it states “allow for discretionary use and a proportionate response”, the chronic lack of site provision by local authorities and the 93.7% of police bodies who call for more site provision as the solution to unauthorised encampments.
Lead author of the submission, Abbie Kirkby, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill must be scrapped. We have seen huge opposition to these proposals, not only from the police but from across society in recognition of the implications for human rights and civil liberties.
The Government have failed Gypsy and Traveller communities – there is no point in bringing in more laws which tell Travellers where they can’t go when you aren’t telling them where they can go.”
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works to end racism and discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.
Sami McLaren, Communications Officer
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: [email protected]
‘Submission to the Public Bill Committee: on Part 4 PCSCB’. Friends, Families and Travellers. May 2021. View here.
‘No place to stop: Research on the five year supply of deliverable Gypsy and Traveller sites in the South East of England’. Friends, Families and Travellers. January 2020. View here.
‘Police renew calls for more Gypsy and Traveller sites in opposition to the criminalisation of unauthorised encampments’. Friends, Families and Travellers. September 2020. View here.