Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has written to the UK House of Commons and House of Lords to call for both Houses to reject Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill.
The letter, which can be seen in full here, urges all members of both Houses “not to accept provisions on the new criminal offence of trespass”.
According to the Commissioner for Human Rights, the PCSC Bill raises “serious questions about [Part 4’s] compatibility with the UK’s obligations under international human rights standards”.
Part 4 of the PCSC Bill would result in the criminalisation of trespass and the strengthening of police powers against roadside camps.
Under current proposals, offenders could face a £2500 fine or time in prison or the vehicle (someone’s home and belongings) being confiscated.
The Commissioner’s letter follows a report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights which also concluded that Part 4 of the PCSC Bill gives rise to several human rights concerns.
Speaking about the Commissioner for Human Rights’ letter, Abbie Kirkby, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“We welcome the Commissioner’s request to parliamentarians to reject the criminalisation of trespass and the strengthening of police powers.
This Bill will only further marginalise Gypsy and Traveller people in the UK whilst doing nothing to address the lack of safe stopping places, a root cause of roadside camps. The opposition to Part 4 of the Bill is now clear and we hope the Government takes these concerns seriously. ”
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.
Sami McLaren, Communications Officer
Tel: 07436 228910 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘United Kingdom: Parliamentarians should reject restrictions on peaceful demonstration, criminalisation of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities’. Council of Europe. July 2021. View letter.
‘Legislative Scrutiny: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (Part 4): The criminalisation of unauthorised encampments’. Joint Committee on Human Rights. July 2021. View here.
‘Report Stage briefing: Part 4 Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’. Friends, Families and Travellers. July 2021. View here.