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NEW GUIDANCE ON UNAUTHORISED CAMPING

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New guidelines on managing unauthorised camping are being launched ...
New guidelines on managing unauthorised camping are being launched

today by Nick Raynsford on behalf of the department of environment,

transport and the regions and the home office.

This is the first ever good practice guidance on unauthorised camping

issued jointly by the two departments and seeks to bring together the

best practices from around the country. It was produced after

speaking to local authorities, police forces and gypsy and traveller

groups.

Speaking at the inaugural National Association of Gypsy and Traveller

Officers conference in Coventry, DETR minister Nick Raynsford

said:

'I am delighted to be asked to speak at NAGTO's first conference and

I applaud their initiative in setting up the organisation to share

experiences and good practice.

'This is the first time we have issued joint good practice advice to

local authorities and the police for managing unauthorised camping.

It has been developed from research carried out by the University of

Birmingham and draws on the real, and often hard-won, experiences of

local authorities, police forces, and gypsies and travellers

themselves.

'The majority of gypsies and travellers cause few problems to anyone

and have a perfect right to carry on their nomadic lifestyle in

peace. But there is a minority who make other people's lives a

dreadful misery, not only through the rubbish they leave behind but

because of antisocial and sometimes criminal activity by some

individuals. It is important we find effective ways of managing this

issue for the benefit of all sectors of our communities.

'We want local authorities and the police to take a fresh look at

their policies in the light of this good practice to see if there is

anything they can learn from the experience of others.'

Key messages are:

- Local authorities should have an overall strategy towards gypsy and

traveller issues, including needs assessment, site provision and

service provision - as well as eviction policies, which should be

developed with the local police force.

- All local authorities should seriously consider identifying

'acceptable' temporary stopping places.

- Local authorities should build planning aspects into their overall

traveller strategy, and avoid setting criteria that in practice

might prove too difficult to meet.

- Education and health services should be included in a local

authority gypsy and traveller policy.

- Local authorities and the police should have a written statement of

their policies towards unauthorised encampment. This should be made

available to gypsies and travellers.

- Standards of behaviour expected of gypsies and travellers should be

those expected of the settled community.

- Local policies should make clear the circumstances in which gypsies

and travellers will be permitted to stay on unauthorised sites

without eviction action being started.

- When evicting unauthorised campers local authorities should, where

appropriate, follow a route which requires a court order.

- Local crime reduction strategies should be used to deal with

problems of crime and disorder ar ising from unauthorised camping.

Notes

1. The good practice guidance for local authorities and the police

was discussed in draft by the DETR to a range of organisations with

an interest, including the Local Government Association, gypsy and

traveller groups, police forces, the National Farmers' Union and the

Commission for Racial Equality, as well as the Department for

Education and Employment, and the Department of Health.

2. Copies of the research summary Local Authority Powers for Managing

Unauthorised Camping are on the department's website below or free

from Dorrett Annon, 1/H4, DETR, Eland House, Bressenden Place,

London SW1E 5DU. Telephone 0171 890 3276.

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