Why the law on illegal encampments needs to change

Last week Thames Valley Police were required to use significant resources to remove travellers illegal camped on private land in Wycombe, but this was after what many residents considered a frustrating time of perceived inaction by the police.

As I have long argued, and continue to campaign, the law on dealing with illegal encampments needs to change. Responsibilities are split between local authorities, landowners and the police. Both civil and criminal law can come into play and often action is dependent on private landowners having to take expensive actions through the courts. Add to this the complications of planning and housing policy and you have a recipe for disaster.

Those who wish to live a lawful and peaceful nomadic lifestyles should be entitled to do so with the protection of the law and the respect of the settled community, but those who see fit to break the law and cause a nuisance to the wider public should be held accountable.

The action by the police last week in Wycombe has been widely praised by the public, but these situations simply shouldn't arise and the police should not need to deploy the level of resources they did due to threats of violence.

The Government has indicated that it is willing to change the law and I am campaigning hard to ensure we get the right changes that will protect travellers who act lawfully and whilst also properly protecting the amenity of public and private land.