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Unauthorised Encampments of Gypsies and Travellers in Hampshire

Response received from Baroness Andrews MP

Letter sent from the Chairman of the Association to Yvette Cooper MP on 25 July 2005

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association (HIOW) represents all the principal councils (County, Unitary and District) in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The Local Associations of Parish and Town Councils are also members.  

At the Annual Meeting of  the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association, Members expressed concern that unauthorised encampments in Hampshire continue to be placed before the civil court to secure vacant possession. Members are aware that local authorities under certain circumstances, may use their powers under Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. The Police also have powers under Section 61 and Section 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. However, it is felt that although these powers make it a criminal offence to ignore a lawful direction to vacate land, there is no over-arching criminal offence of public trespass similar to recent legislation enacted in Southern Ireland.  

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association feels that should legislation criminalising the offence of public trespass be enacted, this would assist local authorities and the Police to re-gain vacant possession of land quickly after investigations regarding health, welfare and duties incumbent upon the local authorities and Police to discharge. It is felt that by criminalising trespass this would assist local authorities and the Police in obtaining vacant possession to landowners both in the public and private sector.  

As the Minister of State, I would welcome your comments on this matter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Last update:  04/08/2008
Author:          Nick Goulder, Director

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