Yesterday, 23rd March 2021, members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma launched an early day motion with a request for the House of Commons to debate the criminalisation of trespass as it appears in the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
An early day motion is a proposal submitted by an MP or a group of MPs to request a debate on a particular issue in the House of Commons.
The Early Day Motion, which can be read in full below asks that the Government reconsiders criminalising trespass and instead makes a legal duty to provide sufficient permanent and temporary sites and encourages a greater use of ‘negotiated stopping’.
Speaking on the Early Day Motion, Andy Slaughter MP, Vice-Chair to the APPG for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma said:
“Gypsies and Travellers are some of the most discriminated against and marginalised minority ethnic communities in UK society. Yet the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill further targets these communities by criminalising trespass to land. No family willingly stops somewhere they are not welcome, which has no running water, waste disposal or electricity. They do so for the lack of either permanent or transit sites. Our Early Day Motion, with the support of MPs from several Parties, calls for these racist and draconian policies to be abandoned in favour of proper site provision.”
Read the Early Day Motion below:
Unauthorised encampments: Criminalisation of trespass
That this House believes the response to unauthorised encampments by Gypsies and Travellers lies not in criminalising trespass but by providing sufficient permanent and temporary sites and by greater use of ‘negotiated stopping’; is concerned that Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will destroy a nomadic way of life that has existed in Britain since the early sixteenth century; notes that the local authority Gypsy and Traveller sites which currently exist in England only came into being because of the duty to provide sites established by the Caravan Sites Act 1968 but repealed by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994; further notes that the Welsh Government have reintroduced a duty to meet the assessed need for sites through Section 103 of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014; urges the UK Government to accept the reintroduction of such a duty as essential to avoid breaching the human rights of Gypsies and Travellers; and requests that Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill should be withdrawn immediately and replaced with a legal duty to provide adequate permanent and temporary sites.
Andy Slaughter MP
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP
Kate Osborne MP
Caroline Lucas MP
Deidre Brock MP
John McDonnell MP
Kim Johnson MP
Kate Osborne MP
Mary Foy MP
Rachel Hopkins MP
Navendu Mishra MP
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.
Lucy Hetherington, Communications Officer
Tel: 07425 419853 Email: [email protected]
‘Briefing on new police powers for encampments in Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill: Part 4’. Friends, Families and Travellers. 24th March 2021. View here.
‘Legal Briefing on Proposals to Criminalise Trespass’. The Community Law Partnership. View here.
‘Government announces plans to introduce harsh new laws for roadside camps’. View here.
Unauthorised encampments: Criminalisation of trespass – EDM 1685 (23rd March 2021). View here.