PCC calls for greater powers for police to deal with illegal traveller camps

Travellers set up an illegal encampment in Dunstable
Travellers set up an illegal encampment in Dunstable

The Police Crime Commissioner backs MP Andrew Selous in calls for greater powers for police to deal with illegal traveller camps.

PCC Kathryn Holloway has labelled human waste left by travellers at Brickhill “an absolute disgrace”, she is calling for greater powers for police to deal with illegal encampments.

She backed MP Andrew Selous in a parliamentary debate on traveller issues, including preventing illegal camps, which took place last night.

She said: “The Chief Constable and I met with South West Bedfordshire MP Andrew Selous last Friday when I detailed the sort of uplift in legal powers that we want to see so that we can put an end to these illegal encampments which intimidate local residents and mean they do not feel able to use the recreational spaces they have a right to enjoy.

“Andrew Selous has seen similar activity in his own constituency with repeated illegal camps in Dunstable, preventing residents from using the skateboard park and bowling alley and leaving others intimidated when it comes to enjoying the recreation centre, where travellers have been going to use the washing facilities.

“It’s well documented that human faeces and fly-tipping were left behind in Dunstable centre too this summer so this behaviour is affecting both the North and South of the county.”

The PCC also announced that she is backing Bedfordshire’s Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, in his call for a Gold Group of senior police. The aim is for leaders of local authorities to work with the police to pull their civil and criminal powers and responsibilities to unite and disrupt illegal encampments in the county.

The Commissioner added: “We need to work with local authorities who are required to provide transit sites so that police have somewhere where such travellers can go.

“We also need councils to use their anti-social behaviour powers, called Section 77, but they are reluctant to do so because it involves them in the expense of going to court.

“This is not just a policing issue, but one for all of us to attack together, and in this Force we are determined to send a message that enough is enough.”