FFT and Community Law Partnership have written a discussion paper on The Association Of Chief Police Officers Guidance On Unauthorised Encampments 2011
The paper makes the following recommendations:
- Removal directions under either section 61 or section 62A-E should always be in writing and contain a quote from the relevant legislation;
- It is already clear in the Guidance that, if necessary, the police themselves should take account of welfare issues and ‘considerations of common humanity’ but this should be further emphasised;
- Police powers of eviction should only be used where there is reliable evidence of criminal activity or anti-social behaviour;
- Even where there is such reliable evidence, the police should always consider whether action could be targeted against the individuals responsible for the activity or behaviour;
- The wording on the ACPO forms, for instance initial site assessment form, may lead to information regarding unauthorised encampments being recorded in a skewed manner. For example, the section for recording the ‘displayed attitude’ of members of an unauthorised encampment provides only one positive attitude out of five options, the rest of which are negative. Forms should be altered so behaviour can be recorded objectively.