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
best practices from around the country. It was produced after
speaking to local authorities, police forces and gypsy and traveller
Speaking at the inaugural National Association of Gypsy and Traveller
Officers conference in Coventry, DETR minister Nick Raynsford
'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
'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.
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.