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Joint statement by NBBC and Warwickshire Police on unauthorised traveller encampments

Published on Monday, 10th September 2018

Efforts to prevent unauthorised traveller encampments around the Borough continue.

Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council, Warwickshire Police and a representative of the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner met last week at the Town Hall to consider longer term solutions and the viability of accessing wider legislative powers.

Cllr Barry Longden, Borough Council Cabinet member said:

"Unauthorised traveller encampments are a source of distress for residents and we do everything we can to prevent them and remove them quickly. Addressing the problem costs all the agencies concerned dearly – as a Borough Council we spend thousands of pounds on enforcement activity, legal fees and cleansing costs alone.

“We work proactively with our partner agencies and we have highly efficient, committed Borough Council teams dealing with these problems with support from our partners in Warwickshire Police and Warwickshire County Council.

“We always take advantage of the most effective legal powers available to us on each occasion. Some legal solutions are only available to local authorities in certain situations - specific sets of circumstances must exist for us to make use of those pieces of legislation which offer more lasting solutions. In addition, some of these solutions require precise, detailed evidence at court, and this is not always available to us.

“Whilst our legislative options are generally limited by the nature of the incursions we experience in the Borough, we are actively exploring longer term solutions so that we are ready to act if there is an opportunity to do so.”

Superintendent Mike Smith of Warwickshire Police said:

“Managing unauthorised encampments is a challenging area for all public agencies. Warwickshire Police are committed to minimising the disruption caused to the community and working closely with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, using our powers to evict travellers where there is a need to do so, and where lawful grounds exist.

“Over the course of seven days the police and local authority were jointly involved in evicting the same group of travellers three times within Nuneaton, which demonstrates our robust approach. Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council have a good record for progressing evictions very quickly within the legislation”.

For Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Dave Reilly, portfolio holder for Environment and Heritage and Culture added:

“All the public sector agencies across Warwickshire are committed to working together to bring forward effective, pragmatic solutions for dealing with Unauthorised Encampments.”

The agencies had a productive meeting on Monday and will continue to work together to ensure legislation is used as effectively as possible, including the potential use of injunctions and emergency stopping places, along with improving the protection of vulnerable pieces of land across the borough.