http://www.sussex.police.uk/policing-in-sussex/transparency/policies-and-procedures/current-force-policies/unauthorised-camping-policy

Unauthorised Camping Policy

Policy title:
Unauthorised Camping Policy
Reference:
611/2012

Abstract

This policy outlines the circumstances where the use of enforcement powers under Section 61, 62 and 62A-E Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 may be used to manage unauthorised encampments and outlines the decision making process to be used in exercising these powers.

Policy

1 Introduction

1.1 This policy has been written to reflect how guidance issued by the government on management of unauthorised encampments will be applied in Sussex. It outlines the role and process to be followed by the decision maker (Superintendents and Chief Superintendents) in respect of powers exercised under Section 61, 62 and 62A-E Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPO Act 1994). It also outlines the role of police in planned evictions initiated by the local authority or private landowners.

1.2 The policy acknowledges compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and the Equality Act 2010 when dealing with unauthorised encampments. In this respect the actions of Sussex Police will closely follow the various guidance published by the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Now Department for Communities and Local Government) and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

1.3 This policy replaces Policy 611/2008 Unauthorised Camping.

2 Application

2.1 This policy is immediately applicable to all police officers and police staff. Superintendents and Chief Superintendents have specific decision making responsibilities regarding the use of Section 61, 62 and 62A – E CJPO Act 1994.

3 Purpose

3.1 The purpose of the policy is to ensure the fair and equal treatment of all communities, whether residents of, or residents affected by, unauthorised encampments.

It is also to ensure that the police use of powers under the CJPO Act 1994 in relation to unauthorised encampments are shown to be lawful, reasonable, balanced, proportionate and appropriate,  taking into account the need to weigh individual rights against the wider public interest.

It ensures that Sussex Police work in partnership with the local authorities using the agreed protocols. The right of Romany Gypsies, Irish Travellers and other travelling communities to live a nomadic life is fully accepted and this policy takes proper account of the European Convention on Human Rights as detailed within the Human Rights Act 1998.

4 Scope

4.1 This policy deals with the application of Section 61, 62 and 62A-E CJPO Act 1994. Section 61 provides a discretionary power for police to direct the removal of persons and their vehicles from land where they are trespassing, providing certain pre conditions are met. Section 62 CJPO Act 1994 allows Police to deal with any non-compliance with a direction under Section 61 through the arrest of suspected offenders and the seizure of vehicles. Section 62A-E CJPO Act 1994 (inserted by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003) allows police to direct trespassers to leave land and remove their vehicles where there is a ‘suitable pitch’ available for them elsewhere in the Local Authority area. This section also provides powers so that police may arrest and seize vehicles if the conditions of such a notice are not complied with or if the trespassers return to the same location within a three month period from the date the direction to leave was given.

4.2 Where the term ‘vehicles’ is used in this policy it has the same meaning as defined in Section 61 of the CJPO Act 1994:

(a) any vehicle, whether or not it is in a fit state for use on roads, and includes any chassis or body, with or without wheels, appearing to have formed part of such a vehicle, and any load carried by, and anything attached to, such a vehicle; and

(b) a caravan as defined in section 29(1) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

5 Policy Statement

5.1 Sussex Police and local authorities will work to the agreed protocols when dealing with unauthorised encampments in Sussex. Sussex Police will aim to ensure a lawful, balanced, proportionate and consistent approach throughout East Sussex, Brighton and Hove and West Sussex. It is the local authority’s responsibility to take the lead on managing unauthorised encampments.

6 Benefits

6.1 Adherence to the policy will result in:

• Improved partnership working, and consistency in approach, between police and local authorities when dealing with unauthorised encampments.

• A lawful, reasonable, balanced and proportionate approach to unauthorised encampments.

• Protection of the rights of Gypsies and Travellers.

• Protection of the rights of settled communities.

• A clear audit trail of decision making and rationale in relation to issues of unauthorised encampments.

7 Responsibilities

7.1 Divisional Commanders are responsible for ensuring that the Division they are responsible for complies
with the procedures set out in this policy.

7.2 Chief Superintendents and Superintendents are responsible for making decisions regarding the use of Section 61, 62 and 62A-E CJPO Act 1994.

7.3 The Superintendent, Criminal Justice Branch, Force Crime & Justice Department, is responsible for conducting a review as per the review period set for this policy.
Procedure
 
1 Introduction

1.1 An unauthorised encampment is defined as a group of people with vehicles who are trespassing on land without the owner’s consent. This should be distinguished from an unauthorised development, where a group of people are developing land they themselves own without the necessary planning permission.

1.2 Section 61 CJPO Act 1994 is a power that can only be used in certain circumstances. It should be noted that its use is not always effective, as the requirement is only to leave the one specific location, not the area. In practice the use of this power will be limited to those occasions where the relevant legislative requirements are fully met and a need for immediate action has been demonstrated.

1.3 Section 62 CJPO Act 1994 allows Police to deal with any non-compliance with a direction under Section 61 through the arrest of suspected offenders and the seizure of vehicles.

1.4 Section 62A-E CJPO Act 1994 (inserted by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003) allows police to direct trespassers to leave land and remove their vehicles where there is a ‘suitable pitch’ available for them elsewhere in the Local Authority area. This section also provides powers so that police may arrest and seize vehicles if the conditions of such a notice are not complied with or if the trespassers return to the same location within a three month period from the date the direction to leave was given.

1.5 When making decisions on the use of which part, if any, of the legislation is appropriate, the use of Section 62 A-E CJPO Act 1994 should be considered first. The limiting factor will most probably be site availability, especially in circumstances where large numbers of unlawful campers are involved. In general terms the pre-conditions of Section 62 A – E are more easily met than the circumstances in which Section 61 can be utilised. Section 62 A-E also requires people on an unauthorised encampment to move to a managed site where there are more appropriate facilities.

1.6 It will not be acceptable to utilise powers under Section 61 simply because a direction under Section 62 A-E cannot be made due to a lack of suitable alternative pitches. However, powers under Section 61 may still be used where the conditions in section 5, below, are met.

1.7 In all other circumstances enforcement action will fall to the Local Authority, Highway Authority or landowner concerned and the range of powers available to them.

2 Protocols between Sussex Police and Local Authorities

2.1 To encourage effective partnership working with local authorities, a number of joint working practice protocols have been agreed. The ‘Operational Protocol between Sussex Police and Local Authorities’, shown at Appendix A, must be referred to when dealing with unauthorised encampments in Brighton and Hove and West Sussex. The ‘Protocol on Managing Unauthorised Encampments in East Sussex’, shown at Appendix B, must be referred to when dealing with unauthorised encampments in East Sussex.

3 Initial Action at New Sites

3.1 Details of what initial action should be taken by officers / staff when an unauthorised encampment occurs is detailed in the joint working practice protocols at Appendix A and B and in the Good Practice Guide for Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officers at Appendix C. The Code of Conduct for Unauthorised Encampments, taken from ACPO guidance, is shown at Appendix G.

4 Operational Decision Making- General

4.1 Decisions as to whether action should or should not be taken under Section 61, 62 or 62 A – E of the CJPO Act 1994 will ordinarily be made by the relevant Divisional Commander or Divisional Superintendent responsible for the area concerned.

4.2 Where a decision is time critical and Divisional Command staff are not immediately available then such decisions will rest with the Force Gold Commander.

4.3 Whenever possible, such decisions should be made jointly in consultation with the representative of the local authority concerned as detailed in the agreed Protocols shown at Appendix A and B, remembering that any police action should be lawful, reasonable, balanced and proportionate. Where possible, liaison with the Gypsy / Traveller group concerned should take place. If the local authority are not consulted the rationale for this must be recorded. Appendix D gives the contact details for the relevant local authority representative.

4.4 The rationale behind the decision made will be shared with the Local Authority concerned.

4.5 When making decisions over whether or not to take action the advice of a public order tactical advisor should be considered.

4.6 It is important that operational issues such as the existence of sufficient resources are properly considered. No action should be initiated unless the ability to enforce that decision exists.

4.7 Whenever powers under Section 61 or 62A-E CJPO Act 1994 are authorised, the Superintendent / Chief Superintendent will consider taking into account the time of day and circumstances, considering whether to tolerate the encampment on the land for the remainder of the day so that the trespassers do not have to travel during the evening or into the night. Where this takes place the trespassers will be informed that their presence will be tolerated until a specific time and failure to leave after this will result in police enforcing their powers.

5 Operational Decision Making- Section 61

5.1 In agreeing to invoke powers under Section 61 CJPO Act 1994 it must be shown that unauthorised campers have clearly failed to respond to requests from, or on behalf of, the legal occupier of the land to leave and remove their vehicles, and that any notice period given by the occupier had expired.

The steps taken by the occupier to ask the trespassers to leave should be recorded by the police as part of the decision making rationale for use of Section 61 powers. The occupier should preferably give the notice in writing, served by a Process Server, and should give the trespassers a specific time by which they must leave.

Whilst the police cannot serve a notice to leave on behalf of the occupier (unless instructed as an agent of the occupier, but this is not recommended due to possible allegations of bias) there is no reason why the police cannot attend the serving of a notice to prevent a potential breach of the peace.

5.2 The Superintendent / Chief Superintendent making the decision to invoke powers under section 61 of CJPO Act 1994 must also be satisfied that:
• two or more people are trespassing on land, and

• they are present there with the common purpose of residing there for any period, and

• that reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave, and

• that any of those persons have caused damage to the land, or property on the land, or used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier, a member of their family or an employee or agent of his.

OR

• that people on the land have between them six or more vehicles.

5.3 The Superintendent / Chief Superintendent must also be satisfied that a need for immediate action is met because:

• The location of the encampment presents a risk to those on the site (e.g. contaminated land or other hazard) or,

• The land itself is of a particularly sensitive nature (e.g. Site Of Special Scientific Interest) or,

• It can be shown the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the settled community to make use of facilities or conduct their business (e.g. village greens, school grounds during term time, urban car parks, urban parkland including sports pitches, retail, leisure or business parks).

5.4 It is essential that a detailed rationale, including the alternative courses of action considered and the justification for the decision made, is accurately recorded.

5.5 Such a process must be applied each time enforcement action is considered, even if the circumstances relate to a group that merely moved a short distance from a previous location.

5.6 Where immediate enforcement action under Section 61 is seen as a justified and proportionate response, then there may be occasions where it will be inappropriate to await the outcome of welfare enquiries conducted by the local authority. In these circumstances it will be essential to demonstrate that proper account of humanitarian considerations had been made. The local authority must be informed of the action taken by police as soon as possible.

5.7 The decision to serve a notice under Section 61 should take into consideration that if anti social or criminal behaviour is focused amongst particular individuals within the group, or if a member of the group is ill, it may be appropriate to take action to evict some of the group but not other members of the group.

6 Operational Decision Making- Section 62A-E

6.1 In considering the authorisation of use of powers under Section 62A-E, the Superintendent / Chief Superintendent must satisfy themselves that the following have occurred:

• two or more people are trespassing on the land, and

• that the trespassers have between them at least one vehicle on the land, and

• that the trespassers are present on the land with the common purpose of residing there for any period, and

• it appears that the person has one or more caravans in his possession or under their control on the land, and

• there is a suitable pitch on a relevant caravan site for the caravan, or each of those caravans, and

• the occupier of the land or a person acting on his behalf has asked police to remove the trespassers from the land.

A relevant caravan site for this purpose is one situated in the area of the local authority in which the land is situated and managed by a relevant site manager (local authority or registered social landlord).

7 Record Keeping

7.1 A decision making form for Section 62A-E is shown at Appendix E and for Section 61 at Appendix F. These forms must be completed by officers to assist in the decision making process and to provide a clear audit trail and rationale.
7.2 Completed forms must be retained by Divisions for a period of seven years, as per ACPO guidance.

7.3 Where police powers have been used, then as part of the evidential trail required to support future decisions, and further legal action, it will be necessary for the details of those required to leave, and the vehicles concerned, to also be recorded as intelligence on the Crime and Intelligence Management System (CIMS).

8 Planned Evictions

8.1 Whenever Local Authority officers seek to initiate an eviction, then a request for police involvement in the planning process will usually be made and should be supported. This will include an assessment of the likely response to that action and should include consideration of the need for consultation with a public order tactical advisor.

8.2 Where police are requested to attend an eviction by private landowners or court bailiffs then a similar assessment should be made. If necessary, those seeking the eviction should be advised to delay the process until an agreed time where sufficient police resources to maintain the peace can be deployed.

8.3 The role of the police during such an eviction will be to stand by and not take an active role in the process unless there are criminal offences perpetrated during the eviction process, or there is a potential breach of the peace.

9 Policing Unauthorised Encampments

9.1 Officers / staff should treat Gypsies and Travellers, both when they are victims and suspects, in accordance with the Serving Sussex Standard.
Where occupants at unauthorised encampments are victims of crime or anti social behaviour, they must be given access to services in the usual way. If there is a perception that the incident is racially motivated then the matter should be dealt with in line with hate crime policy.

9.2 Officers / staff should ensure they deal with individual Gypsies and Travellers suspected of anti-social behaviour and crime on public, private and unauthorised sites, and not whole communities. Where possible officers and staff should engage with people from these communities and local authorities to develop preventative measures.

9.3 A Gypsy / Traveller caravan is recognised by the courts to be a ‘home’ wherever it is situated, and accordingly police activity that interferes with the occupants’ private life must be justified under the Human Rights Act 1998. As with all police activity, officers / staff must avoid any activity that will disturb residents at night without cause.

9.4 The use of PNC markers on vehicles on unauthorised encampments must be justified for operational reasons, where the information or intelligence necessitates action to be taken by Police to deal with the vehicle. Markers must be subject to regular review and removed when no longer necessary.

 

Appendix A

Unauthorised Camping Protocol

Operational Protocol Between Sussex Police And Local Authorities

1.0 Background

1.1 This protocol sets out the working practices agreed between Sussex Police and the respective Local Authorities across East Sussex, West Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove in respect of the management of unauthorised encampments.

1.2 It is derived from the guidance issued by the Home Office and the former Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (see paragraph 7.0 for details).

1.3 For the purposes of this document ‘unauthorised encampment’ relates only to trespass by Gypsies and Travellers on land they do not own as opposed to ‘unauthorised development’, where Gypsies and Travellers are developing land they themselves own without the necessary planning permission.

1.4 There is no expectation that a Local Authority representative should be present where the Police visit unauthorised encampments for normal policing purposes.

2.0 Initial Action at New Sites 

2.1 A joint initial assessment should be conducted as soon as practical, ideally within 24 hours of a new encampment becoming known to the police or local authority. This includes private land where there has been a complaint from the landowner as well as land that forms part of a Highway.

2.2 If the encampment has come to notice through the Local Authority, then initial contact with Police to make the necessary arrangements for such a visit can be made via Duty Inspector for the area using the contact details provided on appendix B. Similarly, if the encampment has come to notice through the Police then they will notify the Local Authority and make arrangements using the contact details at appendix B.

2.3 The out of hours contact details shown at appendix B are the preferred means to initiate contact with an appropriate official. It is accepted there may be limited capacity for Local Authorities to respond outside of normal office hours.  Such contact will be essential in situations where it is apparent that the Local Authority is the landowner.

2.4 The purpose of that assessment will be to determine:

a. The precise location of the encampment, its size and other information needed to establish land ownership.

b. Basic information from the unauthorised campers including the numbers of families, vehicles involved, past and intended future movement, anticipated length and reasons for stay.

c. The existence of any perceived welfare, health or educational needs, to allow effective liaison with other relevant departments such as Education, Social Services or Health Authorities.  Where information is refused then that should be recorded, together with any reason provided to explain the refusal.

d. The present state of the encampment  including general appearance, damage and rubbish accumulation. This will provide baseline information from which subsequent changes can be monitored.

e. Features of the encampment, its location or impact on the community that would indicate a need for the early consideration of the use of enforcement powers.

2.5 Having conducted that assessment the Multi Agency information leaflet providing  the travellers with advice about accessing local services and the code of expected behaviour should be provided.
NB. This is seen as effective practice but remains as work in progress at this time.

2.6 Such visits should be conducted even if it appears that a known group of Travellers have moved a short distance. Wherever possible the same Police Officer and Local Authority representative should maintain contact with the group.

2.7 Where an encampment location is likely to prove unacceptable, then an initial visit by Police should not be delayed simply to secure the attendance of a Local Authority representative.

2.8 The general responsibility to conduct welfare enquiries to inform enforcement decisions rests with the Local Authorities. This function may be carried out by specialist contractors appointed for this task, or Local Authority Officers. They in turn will inform the appropriate agency to respond to identified needs. Sussex Police will not seek to retain information gathered by Local Authority officials in respect of welfare enquiries.

3.0 Use of Legislation

3.1 The use of Police powers will reflect Force Policy. In brief this means Sussex Police will utilise their specific powers and seek to take action only where the relevant legislative requirements are fully met and a need for immediate action has been demonstrated as follows.

Section 62 A-E Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

• The pre-conditions are met and a suitable pitch on a relevant site is available.

It is acknowledged that within the Counties of East & West Sussex and the City of Brighton of Hove there is very limited availability of ‘suitable pitches’, and so the there will in practice be very limited opportunity to utilise Section 62 A-E until further locations have been identified and developed.

Section 61 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

• The location of the encampment presents a risk to those on the site (e.g. Contaminated land or other hazard) or,

• The land itself is of a particularly sensitive nature (e.g. Site Of Special Scientific Interest) or,

• It can be shown that the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the settled community to make use of facilities or conduct their business. Examples of locations where this may apply would be village greens, school grounds (during term time), urban car parks urban parkland including sports pitches and retail, leisure or business parks.

3.2 In all other circumstances enforcement action will fall to the Local Authority, Highway Authority or landowner concerned and the range of powers available to them.

3.3 A single point of contact for enquiries regarding the availability of ‘suitable pitches’ in respect of decisions being made under Section 62 A-E will be maintained, the details are shown at appendix B

4.0 Welfare enquires at sites where Police enforcement action is being considered.

4.1 Where Section 62 A-E is being considered it is likely the needs of the group would be better met at a suitable pitch in most cases, negating the need for detailed enquiries.

4.2 If Section 61 is being considered the extent to which any enquires will be needed will reflect the immediacy of the need to act, the length of time the unlawful encampment has been established and the existence of any needs identified through the initial visit detailed in paragraph 2.3 above.

4.3 Where the police are intending to use powers under Section 62 A-E on private land  following the owner’s request, then they will consult with the relevant Local Authority staff to determine the suitability of directing those on the encampment to a suitable pitch. If considered necessary to support the decision making process, the Police may request that the Local Authority assist in making fuller welfare enquiries.

4.4 The outcome of such enquiries must be taken into account irrespective of which specific enforcement legislation is being considered.

5.0 Decision Making

5.1 Where a need to take immediate action can be shown, then the use of powers available to the Police should be considered at an early opportunity. Whether to use such powers remains an operational matter for the Police, but the rationale behind the outcome will be shared with the Local Authority concerned.

5.2 Decisions to use Police Powers will rest with an Officer not below the rank of Superintendent who is authorised to act on behalf of the Division concerned.  Each Local Authority will have an Officer authorised to assist in making enforcement decisions.

5.3 Whenever possible such decisions should follow full consultation between the respective decision makers, and the rationale behind the outcome carefully documented in case of legal challenge.

5.4 Such decisions must be:

• Lawful, taking into account legislation and policy.

• Reasonable, in the legal sense, not being perverse or irrational

• Balanced, taking into account the needs and rights of both those on the encampment and the settled community affected.

• Proportionate, in response to the prevailing circumstances that surround the encampment.

5.5 The availability of suitable pitches at authorised sites or transit facilities will be an essential  consideration. This information will be maintained by the County Councils and Brighton and Hove Unitary Authority. (Contact details are set out in appendix B)

5.6 A check list which outlines this process is shown at appendix C & D.

6. Evictions

6.1 Where a Local Authority is seeking to initiate an eviction, then in the absence of an existing point of contact then the District Commander for the respective police area must be consulted at an early stage to ensure an appropriate involvement in the planning process.

6.2 Where private landowners are using common law powers, or have obtained the relevant power via civil proceedings, Police Officers may be called upon to attend to prevent a breach of the peace. In such instances the role of the Police will be to stand by, not to assist bailiffs or landowners in the eviction itself. Such requests for Police attendance will be judged on a case by case basis, with attendance not being an automatic assumption.

6.3 The authority / agency originating an eviction will be required to organise and pay for tow trucks and employment of bailiffs where applicable.

6.4 The owner of the relevant land is responsible for clearing and securing a site post-eviction, and should be reminded of this responsibility before any eviction takes place.

7.0  References

This protocol reflects the guidance contained within the following publications:

Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping – Published OPDM, February 2004.
Supplement To ‘Managing Unauthorised Camping’ – Published ODPM, March 2005.

Guide to Effective use of Enforcement Powers (Unauthorised Encampments) – Joint Home Office and OPDM publication, February 2006.

Local Authorities and Gypsies and Travellers – Guide to responsibilities and powers. Published ODPM February 2006.

 

Appendix B

Protocol on Managing Unauthorised Encampments in East Sussex

1. Aims

1.1 The aims of this protocol are to:

Address the need for an effective, approach to the management of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments, whilst ensuring that the rights of Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community are balanced.

Clarify and agree working arrangements around unauthorised encampments amongst the county, district and borough councils, and the police.

1.2 All local authorities in East Sussex, including the police and the health service, have statutory responsibilities to Gypsies and Travellers as well as the settled communities. This protocol seeks to ensure that the rights of all communities are addressed in a fair and equitable way.

1.3 Responding to the needs of Gypsies, Travellers and the settled communities cannot be achieved by any one organisation in isolation and this protocol sits within the context of the multi agency Traveller Strategy for East Sussex.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

2.1 Managing unauthorised encampments must involve a balance between the rights of the landowner and/ or wider community and the rights and welfare needs of the unauthorised encampment. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that both sides are fairly represented when it comes to unauthorised encampments on public land.

2.2 Different agencies involved with unauthorised encampments have different roles and in dealing with encampments it is important that roles are clearly defined to minimise duplication and ensure that both the Travellers and the local settled community know who to contact for specific issues.

2.3 East Sussex County Council

The Traveller Team at the County Council provides a strategic role on Gypsies and Travellers and manages the permanent public residential and transit sites across East Sussex; it is predominately funded by the County Council but contributions are also received from each of the Districts and Borough councils and Sussex Police for a liaison post and from the districts and boroughs towards the transit site and co-ordinating the management of unauthorised encampments.

2.4 If an unauthorised encampment is on publicly owned land, the Traveller Team will takes the lead in gathering data that will influence the decision to tolerate or evict an unauthorised encampment, including welfare issues. This is undertaken in conjunction with ESCC Legal Services and any relevant service department affected. The Traveller Team visits the site and seeks dialogue and involvement from the unauthorised encampment and takes responsibility for co-ordinating activity and communication.

2.5 In cases where the site is not owned by the County Council, District or Borough Council the Traveller Team can offer guidance to Parish Councils, other public sector providers and other partners. Where requested it can agree to take responsibility for co-ordinating activity between agencies and communication between partners and the public on land in other public ownership.

2.6 Districts and Boroughs

The districts and boroughs have the duty to make appropriate Traveller Site provision through their Local Development Framework and to identify emergency stopping places; in the longer term this should lead to a reduction in unauthorised encampments.

2.7 Sussex Police

The Police in Sussex work closely with local authorities, and support the approach of involving partnership discussion, and dialogue with Gypsy and Traveller groups, to achieve a negotiated solution, where possible. The Police must take account of the issues of behaviour, whether criminal, antisocial behaviour or nuisance by both Travellers and the settled community in combination with the impact on the landowner rather than simply because encampments are present at a specific location.

2.8 Parish and Town Councils

Parish and town councils are crucial in building community cohesion within their localities. They have a significant role to play, both in identifying short-stay stopping places, and in helping to manage short-stay encampments in conjunction with the County Council. In addition to this, they also have a duty to represent and act upon the concerns of all communities within their areas. In appropriate circumstances, local councillor(s) will be invited to attend Community Impact Assessment meetings to represent these views.

Procedures for Local Authorities

3.1 The organisation receiving initial notification of an unauthorised encampment should advise the East Sussex Traveller Team. In the event that land ownership is unclear, the organization in receipt of the notification should take the lead until ownership is established.

3.2 The Lead Authority

The County Council will act as lead authority in respect of unauthorised camping on the highway, right of ways or on other County Council owned land; and on common land and District Council owned land. In some cases the lead authority will not be easily identified, for example where an encampment is on both public and private land. In such cases the decision as to who will be lead authority should be based on the extent to which the encampment is on the highway or private land.

3.4 Each landowner (county, district or private) will be responsible for covering the costs of any legal action and the associated costs of managing the encampment including the provision of facilities such as chemical toilets, and ensuring the clearance of land that may be necessary after the encampment moves on.

3.5 The lead officer from the County Council will consider the need for a joint visit to the encampment with the officers of any other principal partner agencies. It is good practice to visit the site on the day of notification and certainly within one working day of notification.

3.6 When a visit is made, the lead officer will:

advise and liaise with individuals and families about ownership of land, and give them a copy of the code of practice produced jointly by the local authorities in East Sussex (see Appendix 1);

ask the Travellers the purpose of their encampment and how long they are planning to stay;

undertake a preliminary welfare check (see Appendix 2) in cooperation with the Travellers making a note of any obvious needs;

make general observations of the encampment, e.g. details noticed at the time of the visit, of which not orally advised (e.g. if there is a heavily pregnant woman on-site, or children not in education, or people with physical, learning or sensory disabilities);

consider the possible impacts of the encampment on the local community i.e. are they impeding access to public facilities or in a high profile location

if the encampment is close to a busy road, comment on the safety of the location from the Travellers and other road users’ perspective;

check the availability of transit provision at Bridie’s Tan and advise the Travellers accordingly;

advise the Travellers that partner agencies (e.g., the relevant Primary Care Trust and Children & Young People’s Services) may be contacted, and that they may also visit the site;

consider what facilities may need to be put in place e.g. chemical toilets and household waste disposal.

3.7 In addition the lead officer should take note of any homes or businesses potentially impacted by the unauthorised encampment. As soon as possible after the initial visit the homes and businesses should be given a copy of the multi agency Unauthorised Encampments leaflet (see Appendix 3), together with a letter outlining who to contact for general enquiries and who to contact for specific issues e.g. environmental health for the district/ borough for noise nuisance. In some circumstances it may be possible and appropriate for Police Community Support Officers to deliver these communications on behalf of the County Council to reassure local residents.

3.8 Following the initial visit and preliminary welfare assessment the lead officer will ensure the encampment is logged on the unauthorised encampments database held by the County Council.

3.9 Depending on the location and impact of the encampment the Traveller Team or Sussex Police will generally call a community impact assessment meeting with all relevant stakeholders and the local community. The findings of the meeting will be used to help inform the decision making process. The Travellers should be encouraged to attend this meeting and this may need to be enabled through the services of a Traveller Support Worker from the Traveller Team at County Council who will support the Travellers to attend and act as an advocate for them if necessary.

3.10 Where the encampment is high profile and involves more than one agency the Traveller Team from the County Council will take the lead in co-ordinating communication between agencies, with elected members and with the media as appropriate. Where the encampment is on district and borough land, officers from that authority will liaise with their own elected members and also with the Traveller Team at the County Council.  Elected members will find Appendix 4 useful.

3.11  Out of Hours

If an encampment is notified to a district council or the Police, out of hours (i.e before 8.30am or after 5.00pm on weekdays and at weekends or bank holidays), phone advice can be provided by the Traveller Team on the out of hours number ( 07825 452507). Visits cannot be undertaken out of hours by the Traveller Team for health and safety reasons.

3.12 Decision Making

Decisions on action to evict or tolerate will be made jointly by the County Council and the relevant district or borough council. The decision will take into account all relevant factors including the need to be as consistent as possible in decision making across the whole of East Sussex. The rationale behind the outcome will be carefully documented in case of legal challenge. Such decisions must be:

lawful, taking into account legislation and policy;

reasonable, in the legal sense, not being perverse or irrational;

balanced, taking into account the needs and rights of both those on the encampment and the settled community affected; and

proportionate, in response to the prevailing circumstances that surround the encampment.

4. Privately owned land

4.1 Usually the County Council will not take action to evict where there is an unauthorised encampment on privately owned land. It is the responsibility of the landowner to arrange for evictions when necessary, with the support of the police. On receipt of initial notification of an unauthorised encampment on private land, the receiving organisation will notify the County Council, as above for council-owned land. Where appropriate and possible, a welfare assessment may be undertaken by the County Council Traveller Team. Government bodies such as the Forestry Commission have a legal obligation to carry out welfare assessments before considering eviction; however this duty is not required by private landowners such as farmers.

4.2 The Traveller Team will notify the owner of the land of the encampment and advise of how to effectively manage unauthorised encampments, and the related powers available to recover possession of the land. Where there is an urgent need to remove the encampment, the police may use their powers.

4.3 Where the owner does not take action to recover the land and the encampment is giving rise to serious disruption or nuisance, the police, the Traveller Team and the relevant district/ borough council should discuss possible solutions. If action is to be taken, the procedure for council-owned land should be followed.

4.4 Where private landowners are using common law powers, or have obtained the relevant power via civil proceedings, Police Officers may be called upon to attend to prevent a breach of the peace or to prevent or detect crimes committed by either parties during the eviction. In such instances the role of the Police will not be to assist bailiffs or landowners in the eviction itself. Such requests for Police attendance will be judged on a case by case basis, with attendance not being an automatic assumption.

5. Toleration

5.1 Unauthorised encampments are almost always, by definition, unlawful. However, while there are insufficient authorised sites, it is recognised that some unauthorised camping will continue. Circular 18/94 and case law make clear that all encampments should be ‘tolerated’ while welfare enquiries are being carried out or where Gypsy and Traveller needs make immediate eviction unreasonable.  However it is often possible and desirable to consider toleration for a period of time.

5.2 Location

In considering whether to tolerate an encampment, the first consideration must be the location and the immediate impact on the settled community. Consideration should also be given to the visual impact of the encampment; a discreet and unobtrusive location will be more suitable than one that can be seen by large numbers of the public.

5.3 Health and Welfare

Health and Welfare needs that might lead to consideration of formal toleration include: accessing urgent medical attention; i.e. a surgical procedure or other acute medical (but not chronic need); pregnancy (complications or within one month of due delivery date, or one month of delivery); or to attend a nearby family event (christening, wedding or funeral). If there is an agreement to tolerate, consideration will need to be given as to whether it is appropriate to make provision for a water supply, toilet provision or rubbish clearance.

5.4 Time limits

Toleration should be limited to 28 days. Extensions beyond 28 days may be considered in exceptional circumstances. A tolerated encampment should not be re-occupied by the same Gypsies/Travellers within six months, and preferably should not be used by any other Gypsies/ Travellers for at least 28 days.

5.5 Unacceptable locations

There are locations, however, where an encampment will not be acceptable under any circumstances. Each encampment location must be considered on its own merits against criteria such as health and safety considerations for the unauthorised campers, traffic hazard, public health risks, serious environmental damage, genuine nuisance to neighbours and proximity to other sensitive land-uses.

5.6 Set out below is a list of the types of site where unauthorised camping would not normally be acceptable:

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) where an encampment endangers a sensitive environment or wildlife

School car park or playing fields (especially in term time)

A town centre public park
Car parks, including hospital, supermarket or leisure facility car parks

Land on an industrial estate or business park

Recreation ground and public playing fields

A site where pollution from vehicles or dumping could damage ground water or water courses

A derelict area with toxic waste or other serious ground pollution

A village green or other open area within a residential area

The verge of a busy road where fast traffic is a danger to unauthorised campers’ or their children

6. Eviction

6.1 There are a number of legal routes to eviction, however before eviction is pursued toleration must be considered, due to the national lack of permanent provision for Gypsies and Travellers.

6.2 Where the County Council is seeking to initiate an eviction, either from its own land or on behalf of a District or borough Council, then in the absence of an existing point of contact the Divisional Duty Inspector for the respective police area must be consulted at an early stage to ensure an appropriate involvement in the planning process.

6.3 A summary of the legislation relating to eviction is detailed below, for more information refer to the legal team within the local authority and the Government Guidance on Guide to effective use of enforcement powers – Part 1 unauthorised encampments

6.4 Police Powers

Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA) in certain circumstances the Police can use powers without the need to involve a court.

6.5 Section 61 of CJPOA allows the senior police officer attending the scene of an incident involving a trespass or nuisance on land to order trespassers to leave the land and to remove their vehicles as soon as reasonably practicable.  If the senior police officer present at the scene reasonably believes that two or more persons are trespassing on land and are present there with the common purpose of residing there for any period, that reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the  occupier to ask them to leave and (a) that any of those persons has caused damage to the land or to property on the land or used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier, a member of his family or an employee or agent of his, OR (b) that those persons have between them six or more vehicles on the land.

6.6 Police will only use this power if there is no alternative site available and it is immediately necessary due to the unacceptable location of the encampment or because there is crime or anti-social behaviour that cannot be managed by normal policing.

6.7 The mere fact of an encampment without any aggravating factors will not normally enable the Police to use this power. Decisions to use the power in East Sussex are taken by a Superintendent following a request and detailed information from the Divisional Duty Inspector for the relevant area.

6.8 Section 62 of CJPOA – Section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 creates a power for a senior police officer to direct a person to leave land and remove any vehicle or other property with him on that land.

62A (1) If the senior police officer present at a scene reasonably believes that the conditions in subsection (2) are satisfied in relation to a person and land, he may direct the person (a) to leave the land; (b) to remove any vehicle and other property he has with him on the land.

62A (2) The conditions are: (a) that the person and one or more others (the trespassers) are trespassing on the land;

(b) that the trespassers have between them at least one vehicle on the land;

(c) that the trespassers are present on the land with the common purpose of residing there for any period;

(d) if it appears to the officer that the person has one or more caravans in his possession or under his control on the land, that there is a suitable pitch on a relevant caravan site for that caravan or each of those caravans;

(e) that the  occupier of the land or a person acting on his behalf has asked the police to remove the trespassers from the land.

6.9 This power can be used where a suitable location is identified by a local authority for Police to direct the Travellers to, such as a transit site like Bridies Tan or an emergency stopping place.

6.10 If the encampment cannot be tolerated and is larger than nine caravans or fewer vacancies are available at Bridie’s Tan. It may be possible for the Police to direct certain individuals/caravans with specific health and welfare needs to Bridie’s Tan, with eviction procedures being pursued for the rest of the encampment. This approach needs to be considered sensitively so as not to split up family groups and support available to more vulnerable Travellers.

6.11  If the Travellers fail to comply with directions given by police then there are powers of arrest and seizure of vehicles. If there is a Section 62(a) direction in force then this applies for three months and it is an offence to commit further trespass with the intention of residing during this period.

6.12 Civil Powers

Part 55

Can only be used by the landowner (however the District or Borough can allow the County Council to act on its behalf, as its agent, once the decision to use this route has been agreed)

Is used to regain possession of the land

Requires civil court procedure

Possession is enforced by county court bailiffs if necessary

Does not provide any sanctions for the return of trespassers

6.13 Welfare checks, any evidence relating to the encampment including photographs and witness statements and the relevant documentation must presented to the Court Manager and a court date is set. The Court provides a claim form to serve on the defendants. This may be served either by a council official or using a process server. At the hearing, if the judge grants a possession a warrant is issued. Bailiffs visit the encampment and serve the warrant for eviction which must allow 24 hours before being enacted. Bailiffs will enact the eviction if necessary after which the landowner signs to say they have repossession of the land.

6.14 Statutory Powers

Section 77 -78 CJPOA

Can only be used by a local authority
Can be used on any land within the local authority regardless of ownership
Removes named individuals from the land
Only requires the involvement of the court if the Travellers fail to move.
Possession is enforced by local authority officers or private bailiffs
Return within 3 months carries criminal sanctions

7 Anti Social Behaviour

7.1 In April 2010 Communities and Local Government issued guidance on anti-social behaviour related to Gypsies and Travellers in an effort to ensure consistency among agencies in their approach to tackling anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers, whether they are victims or perpetrators. The guidance states that there needs to be good co-operation between local authorities and other agencies such as the police and the Environment Agency to address or prevent anti-social and also criminal behaviour on issues such as hate crime, untaxed vehicles, flytipping and unlicensed waste carriage.

7.2 Hate crime

Travellers will be encouraged to report any issues of hate crime to the Police for investigation. The Traveller Team will ensure that the public are made aware that racist comments and language will not be tolerated and may be reported to the Police.

7.3 There should be a commitment on the part of agencies to apply the same approach to Gypsies and Travellers as they would to the settled population; in terms of evidence gathering, prosecution where appropriate and payment of fines (para 2.2).

7.4 Sections in the guidance cover the range of procedures available to combat anti-social behaviour including: Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). Other sections of relevance include: noise and other statutory nuisance and straying livestock; however the section likely to be of greatest relevance in relation to unauthorised encampments is:

7.5 Fly Tipping

Gypsies and Travellers are sometimes involved in business activities such as waste collection, building work, or hard landscaping that generates waste. As with anyone involved in these business activities, if they are not registered as waste carriers with the Environment Agency, and do not have agreements in place with local waste disposal facilities, there is a risk that waste generated as part of their activities will be flytipped.

7.6 Powers to deal with offences under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act allow enforcement authorities to prosecute, issue a fixed penalty notice or seize the vehicle of anyone who carries controlled waste as part of a business or with a view to profit without registering with the Environment Agency as a waste carrier (para 3.9).

7.7 From April 2010 the requirement to obtain a magistrates warrant to seize a vehicle on suspicion of involvement waste offences has been removed, to allow the Environment Agency or a waste collection authority to seize a vehicle on suspicion of various waste offences (a breach of the duty of care, carrying controlled waste when not registered as a waste carrier, fly tipping and operating an illegal waste operation).

The Traveller Team will liaise with the relevant local authority waste team, Police, DVLA, Environment Agency and where relevant Trading Standards in dealing with issues of flytipping on unauthorised encampments.

 

Appendix: Good Practice Guide for Gypsies and Travellers in East Sussex

For a copy of this guide please apply to the Sussex Police Force Policy officer.

 

Appendix 2: Managing Unauthorised Encampments

For a copy of this document please apply to the Sussex Police Force Policy officer.

 

Appendix 3: Unauthorised Encampments in East Sussex

For a copy of this document please apply to the Sussex Police Force Policy officer.

 

Appendix 4: Providing Gypsy and Traveller Sites – a fact sheet for elected members

Introduction

All of us want strong and prosperous communities – communities where everyone has the opportunity to have a decent home and can live without fear of prejudice or disadvantage. Decent homes are important for the health and well-being of the people who live in them, and poor housing or accommodation helps areas, and the people who reside in them, to get a bad reputation. This can often make those areas unpopular places to live, which, in turn, may lead to the breakdown of communities.

The desire for a decent home is something we all share and this is true for settled and Gypsy and Traveller communities alike. But there are some specific problems faced by Gypsy and Traveller communities which local authorities are being encouraged to address, not least of which is the inadequate provision of authorised sites on which they can live and thrive alongside others.

While much of this agenda is about the planning responsibilities and powers that local authorities have to facilitate change and improvement, there are important roles that local members can play in understanding and responding to the needs of both the settled and Gypsy and Traveller populations.

Planning Guidance

‘Local Authorities and Gypsies and Travellers: Guide to Responsibilities and Powers’, ODPM, 2006

Local authorities must take the lead in assessing the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers alongside those of the settled population.

The locally assessed needs of Gypsies and Travellers are to be incorporated into a ‘Regional Spatial Strategy’.

Each local authority is to play its part in meeting that need through the planning system by identifying appropriate sites in local plans.

Local authorities must then develop a strategy which addresses the need arising from the accommodation assessment, through public or private provision

Recent changes in legislation and planning guidance have resulted in greater pressure on local authorities to provide spaces and places for Gypsies and Travellers to live peacefully alongside settled communities. The new framework requires adequate provision to be made for authorised sites – with around a quarter of Gypsy and Traveller caravans occupying unauthorised sites, it is recognised that this can be a source of friction with settled communities.

It has been recognised that the key to a reduction in unauthorised camping is to increase the supply of authorised sites. Various recent studies have also concluded that providing more sites in suitable locations is essential in avoiding tensions between Gypsies and Travellers and others in the community.

The South East regional position

In the South East 22% of Gypsy and Traveller caravans have no authorised place to stop, and their occupants are therefore legally homeless. The Regional Assembly (SEERA) [Now South East England Partnership Board - SEEPB] undertook a single issue review of the South East Plan, the Regional Spatial Strategy for the South East. The review was initiated in response to publication of Government guidance requiring that Regional Spatial Strategies address the accommodation requirements of Gypsies and Travellers. Guidance states that we should identify the number of caravan pitches each local planning authority should provide (but not their location) and identify suitable land on which to accommodate them. This process takes account of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments produced by all the local authorities, and a strategic view of needs across the region.

To address their needs for the period 2006-2016 SEERA agreed in Policy H7 that an additional 1,064 permanent residential pitches must be provided across the region for Gypsies and Travellers, and a further 302 for Travelling Showpeople. This represents around 0.5% of the equivalent requirements for standard housing in the same period.

The East Sussex position

In East Sussex which includes Brighton and Hove the following requirements are being recommended:

Gypsy Travellers                      Travelling Showpeople

Authority 2006 baseline Requirement 2006 baseline Requirement
Brighton and Hove 0 13 0 2
Eastbourne 1 3 3 1
Hastings 1 2 0 1
Lewes 11 10 0 1
Rother 8 7 1 1
Wealden 22 20 1 3
East Sussex/Brighton & Hove 43 55 5 9

This recommendation is very modest in comparison with other areas in the region. For comparison, Oxford which has one unitary and four districts must make provision for 62 pitches for Gypsies and Travellers and 37 for Travelling Showpeople and Kent with one unitary and 12 districts must make 290 and 28 pitches respectively.

The next step in the process is that SEERAs replacement body the South East England Partnership Board now takes this work forward. The proposals will be tested at an Examination in Public (EiP) chaired by an independent planning inspector, this will take place in February 2010.  The Panel will then report in summer 2010, before adoption in winter 2010. At which point the finally agreed figures become those that must be included within Local Development Frameworks (LDF).

Circular 1/2006 from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) urges local authorities to begin to make provision in advance of the LDF requirement.  Planning appeals against Travellers developing their own land inappropriately are currently often being lost because of the lack of permanent pitch provision.

What is there currently in East Sussex?

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently manages four permanent residential sites, three in Wealden and one in Rother providing 26 pitches but expanding on two of the sites to provide a total of a further six pitches (in Wealden). ESCC also owns and manages on behalf of all the authorities in East Sussex a nine pitch Transit Site with a resident site manager just outside Lewes. A Transit site is a permanent site providing Travellers with a short term (up to 12 weeks) facility for short term stays for a while before moving on. Ideally, to complete the provision there is a need for emergency stopping places across the county. These are a range of small, safe locations where Travellers can be tolerated for a short stay, in order to remove them from more high profile and unsuitable locations. In law each of these may not be used for more than 28 days in a year.

There is already good partnership working on Gypsies and Travellers. The Traveller Liaison Manager is jointly employed by the six local authorities and Sussex Police and there is multi-agency Traveller Strategy in place with an annual action plan. A member working group, comprising elected members from all six authorities oversees the delivery of the action plan and they are supported by a group of senior officers from each authority. A Traveller Forum giving Gypsies and Travellers the opportunity to meet with members, officers and other personnel from statutory and voluntary groups meets quarterly. It is always a lively meeting where the lack of permanent site provision is a perennial theme.

Each district and borough is currently in the process of identifying land that might be suitable for small Traveller sites. Because of the public sensitivities around this work, it is recommended by the elected member group that any potential results should only go into the public domain when there is a real chance of them being suitable and not where alternative options are presented. This then enables public consultation on the suitability of a specific location rather than comparisons between locations. Ideally it will help if all the local authorities can co-ordinate announcements so that again the public are clear this is an issue being addressed in every area.

The legal position

The council has a legal duty to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of the local community. This is important for ensuring that all decisions and actions taken by the council are balanced and take into account all likely impacts on people, places and habitats. This applies to the planning processes for deciding how best to provide spaces and places for Gypsies and Travellers who are also part of the “local community”: providing sites is likely to improve their education and health outcomes and their wider life chances.

As well as providing guidance on the provision of new official sites for Gypsies and Travellers, central government has provided new guidance to enforce existing legislation relating to problem sites. This sets out the range of powers available to councils. Adequate site provision is seen as the key to effective enforcement and to ensure that enforcement powers are used effectively.

Members should recognise that enforcement powers are available to tackle two types of unauthorised sites:

Unauthorised encampments – where people camp on land that they do not own without the owner’s permission. This is viewed as ‘trespassing’.

The enforcement powers available to local authorities for tackling unauthorised encampments include:

negotiated solutions – these avoid confrontation and are often the best way of managing a situation.

possession orders – issued by courts to enable landowners (including local authorities) to remove people from the land they are trespassing on.

orders issued under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 – these allow the Police to direct unauthorised campers to leave land if there is somewhere identified within the county to send them (Section 62a) or allow for the removal of campers (Section 61) where the Police judge there to be a significant impact to the environment, economy or local community.

Unauthorised developments – where people own the land but do not have planning permission or where settlers have consent from the owner to occupy the land but the development does not have planning permission.

Remedies for tackling unauthorised developments include:

temporary stop notices – these can be issued by local authorities to stop further development for a period of 28 days.

enforcement notices – these can be issued by local authorities and require a development to be stopped on a long-term basis as well as requiring the site to be reinstated to its previous condition. As appeals against enforcement notices suspend the effect of the notice, authorities will often issue a stop notice at the same time as an enforcement notice.

injunctions – local authorities can apply to a court for these to prevent someone from continuing with or beginning to carry out development. This is usually sought when other remedies have been used

Local community leadership responsibilities

Dealing with the people in your ward or division, understanding the issues and concerns they face, and being equipped with the skills, confidence and ability to take action in response to their queries, is an important and valuable task for any local member. As a community leader, you have a responsibility to represent the voices of all sections of the community. This includes championing the interests of Gypsies and Travellers who often find it difficult to articulate their issues or concerns given some of the tensions and conflicts that can arise with others in the community. In this sense, your challenge is to ‘speak for the unheard’.

Knowing as much as you can about the Gypsies and Travellers in your area is the first step towards understanding their needs and concerns and dealing with the issues and problems they may face. But be careful to find out the facts, rather than believing the myths, rumours and misinformation that are often peddled about Gypsies and Travellers.

Representing the views of Gypsies and Travellers in your area may not be easy given the opinions of some of the settled community and the tensions that the introduction of permanent sites can create. However, it is important to recognise that as a local member you have the ability to influence how people behave and contribute to discussions regarding the scope for authorised sites. You can positively influence other peoples’ perceptions by demonstrating:

energy and enthusiasm
a calm, even tempered, disposition
an ability to be flexible and adaptable to different people and situations
strong listening and observation skills
an ability to act impartially
self confidence and gravitas
empathy and perceptiveness.

What to do if you are informed about an unauthorised encampment

If  the encampment is on a public highway, other County Council land, or you are unclear about the land ownership, you should in the first instance contact the East Sussex County Council Traveller Team

You may also find it helpful to look at the Traveller Pages on the ESCC website:
www.eastsussex.gov.uk/travellers

If the land belongs to the district or borough council land or is a public space e.g. car park, recreation ground etc. then you should  contact the relevant district or borough council, they will then make contact and liaise with the Traveller Team at the County Council over the management of the encampment:

Health and Environment Services, Eastbourne Borough Council
Environmental Services, Hastings Borough Council
Environmental Health,  Lewes District Council
Environmental Health, Rother District Council
Property Services, Wealden District Council
If the land is owned by a parish or town council e.g. village green, then the clerk to the relevant council should be informed. It will also be useful if the Traveller Team at the County Council is informed as above.

Unauthorised encampments are almost always, by definition, unlawful. However, while there are insufficient authorised sites, it is recognised that some unauthorised camping will continue. Circular 18/94 and case law make clear that all encampments should be ‘tolerated’ while welfare enquiries are being carried out or where Gypsy and Traveller needs make immediate eviction unreasonable.  However it is often possible and desirable to consider toleration for a period of time.

Please be aware that all public bodies including Sussex Police have a duty of care and should consider toleration in the short term. If the decision is ultimately made to evict, in the large majority of cases this will take some time to achieve through the court process.

If the land is in private ownership, the land owner is responsible for taking any action to evict. This he/she can do through common law powers i.e, employing a bailiff or through civil procedures (Part 55) to regain possession of the land.

Why respond to the need for additional provision?

There are four good reasons to make the accommodation and site needs of Gypsies and Travellers a priority:

‘Doing nothing’ is not an option – the shortage of sites can only get worse, leading to an ongoing unmet need, more unauthorised sites and more community tension. No council can afford to ignore the issue and planning across different authority areas should help.

Action should help to contribute towards positive health and education outcomes for these communities – Gypsies and Travellers are believed to experience the worst health and education status of any disadvantaged group in England. The lack of good quality, permanent sites restricts access to many health, education and welfare services. This not only affects their general well-being, but means that many Gypsies and Travellers are not sufficiently integrated into settled communities, helping to further reinforce stereotypical views that these groups ‘don’t fit in’.

Your council has a duty to promote good race relations – planning, site provision and enforcement activity all impact on race relations generally and the way in which services are delivered to Gypsies and Travellers. In developing policies and making decisions, your council will need to ensure that its actions are consistent with the legal duty to promote good race relations, equality of opportunity and community cohesion.

Funding is currently available and providing authorised sites could save your council money – where there is a need for public subsidy, central government is making funds available for providing and refurbishing authorised sites. While enforcement activity against unauthorised camping can be expensive, the provision of authorised sites should reduce the need for enforcement activity and therefore save money.

Some facts about Gypsies and Travellers

Myths, rumours and misinformation surround the presence of minority ethnic groups such as Gypsies and Travellers and these can be hard to rebut. However, below are some facts about Gypsies and Travellers that can be used to discredit many of the more popular myths.

Romany Gypsies have been in Great Britain for over 600 years, and Irish Travellers have also lived and travelled here for generations.

Both Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic minorities, with their own languages, and are protected by Race Relations legislation.

Out of around 16,000 Gypsy and Traveller caravans in England, about 12,000 are on authorised, legal sites.

Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers have their own languages; Romany Gypsies particularly have very strict customs about hygiene and cleanliness, developed over many years to cope with living on the roads.

Less than one square mile of land would be needed to accommodate every unauthorised caravan in England.

91 per cent of all local authorities in England and Wales have Gypsies and Travellers either living in them or passing through.
Gypsies and Travellers are subject to the planning system in the same way as any other person – their developments are subject to the same policies and guidance.

Large unauthorised developments are rare and the average size of an authorised development is only four caravans.

Gypsies and Travellers are the most excluded ethnic minorities in this country, e.g. studies suggest that nearly 18 per cent of Gypsy and Traveller mothers will experience the death of a child – compared with less than 1 per cent of mothers in the settled community.

 

Appendix C: Good Practice Guide for Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officers

Introduction

Gypsies and Travellers are a significant ethnic and cultural minority within the Sussex community and as such deserve to receive our high standards of policing which meet their needs and recognise the difficulties that they face in accessing our service. This guidance provides important and relevant information that will assist you in providing fair and equal treatment. You may also find this document useful in giving you a picture of some of the diverse communities we serve in Sussex.

Chief Inspector Marion Sandwell

Your role as a Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer (GTLO)

This role is crucial in engaging with the Gypsy and Traveller community providing access to everyday policing services. This role is vital to build trust and confidence within this community and between the Police, Settled and Travelling communities. GTLO’s work alongside Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

Chief Inspector Marion Sandwell

As a GTLO your role is to:

•Develop communication with the Travelling community.

•Act as liaison between the police and Traveller groups.

•Act as a contact for the Gypsy Traveller community so they can report crime and you can exchange information.


Direct Travellers to required services and assistance, acting as a single point of contact.

•Work together with partners and services, e.g. NHS and council.

•Where possible, conduct welfare checks with the council, by appointment.

•Support divisions with on-site contact to enable enquiries to be conducted and reduce the likelihood of conflict. Involvement with enforcement activity will be minimal and authorised through supervisors to avoid compromising your role.

•Raise awareness of your role within the district, internally and externally, to promote social cohesion and minimise discrimination.

•Carry out checks on the welfare of Travelling groups to ensure that, where needs are identified, appropriate agencies are involved and these issues considered prior to any subsequent action.

•Ensure that all Travelling groups are made aware of the welfare groups which can provide help, support and information to them.

What is Hate Crime?

Hate Crime is any criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by an offender’s hatred of someone because of their:

•race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality or national origins (Including Gypsies and Irish Travellers)
•religion
•sexual orientation
•disability
•age

Hate Crime can take many forms including:

•Physical attacks – such as physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and arson

•Threat of attack – including offensive letters, abusive or obscene phone calls, unfounded, malicious complaints, groups hanging around to intimidate, dirty looks and intimidating stares

•Verbal abuse or insults and abusive gestures

•Other abuse – such as offensive leaflets and posters, the dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes, theft or fraud, bullying at home, online, at school or in the workplace.

“We must challenge the language, before it develops into behaviour”. DCC Giles York

Racial Discrimination

The Race Relations Act (RRA) 1976 makes it unlawful to treat someone less favourably on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins. The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 puts a duty on the Police to have due regard to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups. Gypsies and Irish Travellers are a recognised ethnic minority and covered by this legislation.

On 8 May 2003, Johnny Delaney, a 15-year-old Irish Traveller was killed in Liverpool during a racist attack in which he was kicked and had his head stamped on by two 16-year-olds from the Settled Community. After jumping on Johnny’s head with both feet, one of the attackers told a witness, “He deserved it, he’s only a f*****g Gippo.” Another witness to the attack described the assault as “Like he was trying to bury his head.”

This case received hardly any coverage in the press compared with a very similar murder ten years earlier – that of Stephen Lawrence in South London. The case of Johnny Delaney is known to almost all households in the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

In November 2003, the relationship between Gypsies and Travellers and the Settled Community reached the national headlines when members of the Firle village bonfire society in East Sussex burned effigies of a Gypsy family in a caravan complete with the number plate P1 KIE.

Racial discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers is rarely reported because the community doesn’t trust Police to do anything about it. A lot of work in different areas of the country is being done to improve relations between Gypsies, Travellers and the Police in order to challenge this perception.

A recent study by Friends Families and Travellers (FFT) showed that in 2009 Sussex Police had no record of any Hate Crimes taking place against anyone from the Travelling Community. Outreach workers, however, were able to find 22 examples of this offence.

Access to services

You may find the following information useful.

Accommodation

One of the issues facing Gypsy and Traveller families is finding suitable locations where they can live in their caravans. Please see pages 11-12 of this guide for details of sites within Sussex.

Access to health care

Gypsies and Travellers are widely cited as Britain’s most marginalised community. Friends Families and Travellers as well as Travellers Times report a third of the Gypsy and Traveller population have no fixed address, and that they suffer from the highest rates of infant mortality, the lowest life expectancy and highest rates of illiteracy of any ethnic group.

An old Gypsy proverb says Gypsies value three things: freedom, health and love, for without freedom there can be no health and without health, love cannot be enjoyed.

Health problems amongst Gypsies and Travellers are much more common than in the settled community. Both sexes are more likely to suffer from anxiety, asthma, bronchitis and chest complaints. Women are more likely to suffer miscarriages, still births and infant mortality.

One barrier to improved heath is the communities’ mistrust that modern medicine will bring benefits; they prefer to rely on family and traditional remedies. This is exacerbated by a lack of access to medical support, education and standards of accommodation.

You can support your Gypsy and Traveller communities by signposting them to relevant health care professionals.

Education

Bullying by pupils and staff, under achievement and a lack of literacy skills have often placed Gypsy and Traveller pupils at a disadvantage in schools. There are also cultural reasons why Gypsies and Travellers do not value formalised education as highly as the Settled population. Gypsies and Travellers expect to be discriminated against in the labour market so can be reluctant to pursue traditional employment and formal education.

The majority of parents of today’s young Gypsies and Travellers received little or no schooling themselves and can be suspicious about what comes with education. They see school as a source of Gorgification (becoming like a non-Gypsy), a process that weakens Gypsy and Traveller identity and values.

Parents feel that school introduces their children to drugs and relationships with Gorgias and can even affect the way they speak and see themselves. They also see schools as places where children will be bullied. For these and other reasons, a number of Gypsies and Traveller parents keep their children away from school. There are economic reasons too; teenage Traveller girls are often expected to help at home or with caring for their younger siblings and teenage Traveller boys are often expected to be working with their fathers receiving, in effect, an apprenticeship in how to earn a living.

Understanding Traveller communities

To respect members of these communities, it helps to understand who they are recognise their ethnicity. Much of the advice in the following applies to all Gypsy and Traveller groups and it’s important you understand these differences so you can properly undertake your role.

Who are Gypsies and Travellers?

The term Traveller refers to anyone who follows a nomadic way of life and applies to anybody living in vehicles. Travellers can be divided into two groups:

those who are ethnic Travellers, such as Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers

those who live on the road for purely economic reasons such as New Travellers and Showmen, as well as being part of their culture.

Each Traveller community has its own culture and history.

Ethnic Travellers

Ethnic Travellers are people who are born into traditionally nomadic cultures.

The two groups recognised by the Race Relations Act 1976 as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 as ethnic groups are Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers. Although both groups have lived and travelled in the British Isles for many hundreds of years, it has only been relatively recently that they have been recognised within this legislation.

To be recognised, they had to prove, in landmark legal cases, that they met the following conditions, known as the Mandla Criteria:

• long shared history
• cultural tradition of their own
• common geographical origin
• common language
• common tradition
• common religion
• characteristic of being a minority or being oppressed by a dominant group within a large community.

Romani Gypsies – Eastern European Heritage

Romani Gypsies have been in Britain since at least 1515 after migrating from continental Europe. The term Gypsy is a corruption of Egyptian which is how the settled community (Gorgia) perceived them because of their dark complexions. However, research indicates that Romani Gypsies originated in India.

The Romani language has words which have been picked up from every country it has passed through along the way. It borrows words from the following languages:

- Sanskrit
– Dardic
– Burushaski
– Persian
– Kurdish
– Georgian
– Ossetian
– Byzantine Greek

Within Europe, where the majority of the world’s Romani Gypsies live, there is a wide diversity of Romani dialects. The language spoken in Britain is known as Poggadi Jib, or broken language, because it largely consists of Romani verbs and nouns but uses many English words. It is a very effective way of retaining a culture and excluding people from outside who you don’t want to understand what you are saying.

Romani Gypsies are Europe’s largest and fastest growing ethnic minority.
Gypsies refer to Police as Gavvers. In Romani language this means hide.
National Campaign Groups include;

Travellers Advice Team: 0845 120 2980
National Romani Rights Association: 01202 893228

Irish Travellers

Irish Travellers are a separate and distinct ethnic group originating from Ireland. There are records of Irish Traveller families in England dating from medieval times. They often attend the same horse fairs and events as Romani Gypsies and there has been intermarriage between the two communities. They share some of the same cultural values as Romani Gypsies, such as a preference for self-employment and living and travelling in caravans or trailers, but there are also big differences between them. For example, most Irish Travellers are Catholic and their language is called Cant or Gammon which also uses English words but incorporates ancient Gaelic. It is used in a very similar way to Romani. The footballer Wayne Rooney comes from an Irish Traveller family, as does the pop singer Shane Ward. The Rooneys and Wards are two of the largest Irish Traveller families in England and Ireland.

Irish Travellers refer to Police as “Shades”; as with the Romani term “Gavver” this also means “hide.”

National Campaign Groups include;

The Irish Traveller Movement: 0207 625 2255

Non-ethnic Travellers

Other groups and individuals call themselves Travellers. They may be people who have chosen or been forced into a life on the road. Another possibility is that they may be part of larger groups who are not part of an ethnic minority but who do share a common culture.

These are described below.

New/Native Travellers

Sometimes New Travellers are referred to as New Age Travellers; some members of this community find this term offensive. They are generally people who have taken to life on the road, though some New Traveller families claim to have been on the road for three consecutive generations. The New Traveller culture grew out of the hippie and free-festival movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Because of this, New/Native Traveller vehicles are generally very colourful.

Showmen

Showmen are a cultural minority who have owned and operated funfairs and circuses for many generations. Though culturally similar to Romani Gypsies, their identity is connected to their family businesses. They operate rides and attractions that can be seen throughout the summer months at fun fairs. They generally have winter quarters where the family settles to repair their machinery and prepare for the next travelling season.

Other Travellers

There are other groups of Travellers who may travel through Britain, such as Scottish Travellers and French Manush Gypsies; they have similar origin and culture to Romani Gypsies. There is also an increasingly large population of Roma immigrants which has come to Britain from long-settled communities in Eastern Europe.

Population size

There are no reliable estimates of how many Gypsies and Travellers there are in the UK because Gypsies and Travellers are not specifically included in most ethnic monitoring. Academic estimates vary from 120,000 to 300,000, which would make the population of Gypsies and Travellers as large as the Bangladeshi community. It is significant that these are the most recent figures we have; however, these figures were collated by health professionals in Dorset in the 1960s and must now be considered out of date. Around half of all Gypsies and Travellers in the UK nowadays live in houses, the other half live in caravans on private caravan sites, public (council owned) caravan sites and on unauthorised encampments wherever they can find land that is suitable.

Rituals and Customs

Gypsies and Travellers take certain rituals very seriously. We have outlined some of the traditions associated with the various ceremonies.

Births

In general a father will never be at the birth of their child; this is left to the close female members of the family. The first male child takes on his father’s name i.e. Jim’s son becomes Jim boy and the first born girl takes on her mother’s name i.e. Jane’s daughter becomes “Janey” girl. The subsequent children take on names from grandparents, uncles and aunts.

Weddings

Weddings are usually well attended and Gypsies and Travellers often marry young and have conservative views on relationships.

Funerals

As with weddings, funerals are usually well attended with most Gypsies and Travellers considering their immediate families to include all their cousins; this may include dozens or even hundreds of people. Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers consider respect for the dead to be extremely important.

With Romani Gypsies, a dead person’s possessions, including their caravan, used to be burned after the burial, and some families still adhere to this. This is an ancient custom, not a meaningless disturbance of the peace. Many families nowadays make a priority of disposing of a dead person’s possessions so their spirit can be free.

Before the funeral, relatives will come from far and wide to sit up (stay awake for several nights) out of respect for the deceased. During this time the men and women of the community spend most of their time apart. Small fires may be lit outside for the vigil.

Funeral customs are particularly sensitive for Gypsies and Travellers who will usually be loyal to a particular funeral director who ‘knows how to do things properly’ in terms of tradition.

Romani Gypsies have very strong beliefs on death. When a member of their community dies, they are watched over constantly at home, mainly by the female members of the family, and a candle is lit under the coffin to stop evil spirits getting to the soul of the person who has passed away. Irish Travellers are likely to attend the scene of death. If the person died as a result of an RTC this could result in a number of Travellers arriving at a scene. This could appear confrontational, but that isn’t the intent. The GTLO will be the best person to call upon in this situation as he/she will recognise members of the group and will be able to explain the situation to other officers and the public.

The male members of the family will normally assemble at the home of the deceased, remaining outside by a fire. The fire will be kept alight until the day of the funeral; in urban areas this can cause some distress, especially within housing estates. There may also be large numbers of people standing outside for up to a week before the funeral, so plans need to be considered with the family, Council, Fire and Rescue Service, as well as RPU and the Media Relations Team (extension 44350) in case they receive a media enquiry about activity. It is advisable for the GTLO to establish some communication with the families at the earliest opportunity in order to understand their plans and so they can respond accordingly.

On the day of the funeral, the need for road closures should be considered. The funeral cortège may consist of a hearse, horse and carriage or both. The coffin is usually followed by flower lorries which could consist of up to eight vehicles, followed by family and friends. Remember, Gypsies and Travellers have large extended families from all over the country and Ireland; they will usually walk, depending on the distance. The rest will follow in other vehicles.

Should a Gypsy or Traveller funeral take place on your Division / District you may wish to consider the following:

•visit the next of kin at an early opportunity

•if necessary, for safety reasons, consider road closures around the family home. The needs of the whole of the community are to be balanced

•clarify which traditions and customs the family wishes to observe. Don’t be afraid to ask

•if the family wishes to set a small fire outside their property, suggest they liaise directly with the Fire & Rescue Service as well as the Local Authority. This is not our decision to make so they may need to be directed to the local services

•consider informing neighbours about the funeral and the customs the family wishes to respect.

•This may also ease tensions and the concerns of people unaware of Traveller customs and traditions

•request the family’s permission to speak directly with the Funeral Directors to identify the route

•liaise with the Local Events & Planning Departments for them to consider an Operational Order if an Operational Plan is required

•ensure RPU are advised. Their assistance may be required to ensure the cortege remains together if there is likely to be an impact on the road network

•due to the potential for large numbers, consider parking issues and contact with the Local Authority or local farmers to identify suitable space

•details of the location for the wake are also useful

Not every Gypsy or Traveller funeral will require or warrant these steps and each funeral must be assessed on its own merit.

In the Sharepoint drawer “Gypsies/Travellers and GTLO’s”, a leaflet used for informing residents of a forthcoming funeral, can be found in the folder “Useful Forms”. Please give consideration to using this form as it has been used effectively in the past. Always inform the family about what you’re doing and explain the reasons for taking this action.

Trust and Confidence

With all Gypsies and Travellers, trust and confidence goes a long way. It is worth noting that when invited into a trailer or home of a Gypsy/Traveller and you are offered a drink, to refuse can be considered rude.

Ever since Gypsies arrived in Britain in the 16th Century, they have aroused fear and fascination. Nowadays official policy towards Britain’s travelling population recommends tolerance. The relationship between Britain and its Gypsy population has come a long way in five centuries but many within the community feel its time the culture was not just tolerated, but celebrated.

Gypsy and Traveller culture and history – The Myths and The Truths

There is no one Gypsy and Traveller culture, just as there is no single Gypsy and Traveller community. Most Gypsies and Travellers have certain cultural commonalities which have evolved over time in response to the conditions created by life on the road.

Gypsies and Travellers are people who are often very well integrated into Settled Communities.

Myth: Gypsies are dirty.

Truth: Gypsy culture is built upon strict codes of cleanliness learnt over centuries of life on the road. They have strict rules, for example, which objects can be washed in which bowls. It should be noted that Gypsies and Irish Travellers rarely let animals inside their homes as some believe them to be carriers of disease. Bear this in mind the next time a police dog is tasked with searching a trailer or home of a Gypsy/Traveller.

Myth: All Gypsies and Travellers are criminals

Truth: Just as in any community, some Gypsies and Travellers are involved in crime. There is no evidence to suggest that criminal activity is any higher among the Gypsy and Traveller population than within other groups in society.

Myth: All Gypsies live in caravans

Truth: As we know, Romani Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised ethnic minorities with their own culture, language and beliefs, yet planning law defines Gypsies simply as people with a nomadic way of life. While this is historically true, 90% of Gypsies across the world now live in houses.

Myth: Gypsies and Travellers are work-shy

Truth: Gypsy and Traveller labour formed the bed rock of the agricultural economy until industrialisation. Many Gypsies also sacrificed their lives for this country in World War I and II.

Myth: Gypsies and Travellers have become rich through avoiding paying tax

Truth: There is no evidence that this is the case. Romany Gypsy and Irish Traveller cultures value portable wealth and, unlike members of the Settled Community, this wealth is often highly visible.

Myth: Gypsies are endowed with special supernatural powers including the ability to curse and see the future

Truth: Some Gypsies may well have psychic powers, but no more than anyone else. However, some myths can be turned to a community’s advantage. Gypsy and Traveller fortune tellers have exploited and cultivated the mystery that has surrounded Gypsy culture.

Myth: Romany people come from Romania

Truth: ‘Romany’ comes from ‘Roma’, the Romani word for ‘people’. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Romania, Rome or ‘roaming around’. In addition, the terms ‘Pikey’ and ‘Gyppo’ are considered by Gypsies to be extremely offensive racial slurs. The word ‘Pikey’ originates from ‘Turnpike crawler’ or ‘Turnpiker’, referring to Gypsies’ mobile lifestyle.

Hate Crime

Sussex Police serves a diverse community – and every member of that community, without exception, has the right to live without fear of any kind of harassment or abuse. Individuals are entitled to live in their homes without fearing damage to their property.

Other Organisations

Victim Support

Victim Support is an independent registered charity which deals with all victims of crime across England and Wales. Their services are free of charge and confidential.

Victim Support works closely with the Police and other criminal justice agencies; we refer victim reports to them after they are received – always with the consent of the individual.

Victim Support will normally make contact with a victim within 48 hours of referral. However, victims can make contact with the team to request support having been the victim of crime whether or not the Police have been involved. In addition to supporting victims and understanding the impact crimes can have on peoples lives, they also offer support to friends and family where required.

The support and assistance offered by Victim Support falls into three categories whether you’re a victim or a witness of crime:

•emotional support – to help victims deal with the personal effects of crime

•information – many people find the criminal justice system complicated and confusing. Victim Support offers information to help victims sense of what they have been through and the options available to them

•practical help – from filling in forms to improving the victim’s home security

•if a victim needs more specialist support, Victim Support can contact other agencies to make this assistance available

In addition to the main categories above, Victim Support also runs a Witness Service in every criminal court to support witnesses through the court process.

Immediate help is available 24/7 from Victim Supportline (0845 30 30 900). The Supportline can also put the victim in touch with local support teams as required.

Friends Family and Travellers (FFT) – Registered Charity (111236)

FFT is a registered charity, based in Brighton, with a Trustee Board, currently made up of seven Trustees, four of whom are Travellers. The Trustees are elected by the members at the AGM and are answerable directly to them. FFT was established in response to the 1994 Criminal Justice & Public Order Act and is one of a number of organisations which seek to address the issues facing the Traveller and Gypsy community. FFT began as an informal support group and network helping to deal with crises faced primarily by New Travellers, as and when they arose. They now offer formal advice, information and training, providing a wide range of services to all Travellers nationwide.

Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG

Advice and Information Unit Tel: 01273 234777

“We seek to end racism and discrimination against Gypsies and Travellers, whatever their ethnicity, culture or background, whether settled or mobile, and to protect the right to pursue a nomadic way of life.” Emma Nuttall, Project Manager

Role of a Local Authority Travellers Liaison Officer

The role of a Local Authority Travellers Liaison Officer is to ensure that all Traveller groups occupying Council owned land are dealt with in accordance with the Council’s draft Traveller strategy and the relevant legal procedures, and that welfare needs are identified and considered.

Site Provision in Sussex

Permanent Sites

Brighton & Hove

There are no permanent sites in Brighton & Hove

East Sussex

Traveller Sites Manager Mark Tolhurst – mark.tolhurst@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 482398 or 07825 358351

1. Swanbarn Caravan Site
Station Rd
Hailsham
BN272RU
No Site Warden

2. Battsbridge Caravan Site
Battsbridge Rd
Maresfield
TN222HN
No Site Warden

3. Pollyarch Caravan Site
Off Lynholme Rd
Polegate
BN266JP

4. Redlands Caravan Site
Redlands Lane
Robertsbridge
TN325NE

West Sussex

1. Easthampnett Caravan Park – 1.1 Hectares 22 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Marsh Lane
Tangmere,
Chichester
West Sussex
PO18 0JN

2. Westbourne Caravan Park – 0.79 Hectares 14 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Cemetery Lane
Westbourne
Hampshire
PO10 8RZ

3. Ryebank Caravan Park – 0.7 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Bilsham Road
Yapton
West Sussex
BN18 0JZ

4. Withy Patch Caravan Park – 0.6 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Old Shoreham Road
Lancing
West Sussex
BN15 0RT

5. Adversane Caravan Park – 0.61 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Stane Street
Adversane
Billingshurst
West Sussex RH14 9GZ

6. Cousins Copse Caravan Park – 1.3 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
The Haven
Slinfold
Horsham
West Sussex
RH14 9JW

7. Fairplace Hill Caravan Site – 2700m2 – 9 Pitches
Isaacs Lane
Burgess Hill
RH15 8QX

8. Horsgate Caravan Park – 3000m2 – 3 Pitches
Hanyle Lane,
Cuckfield,
Haywards Heath
RH16 1XN

9. Walstead Caravan Site – 3500m2 – 4 Pitches
East Mascalls Lane
Haywards Heath

10. Bedlands Caravan Site – 4200m2 – 9 Pitches
Valebridge Road
Burgess Hill
RH15 8AU

11. Small Dole Site – Contact John Loxley, john.loxley@horsham.gov.uk or 01403 215483
Hillside Lane
Small Dole,
Henfield
West Sussex.

Transit Sites in Sussex

Brighton & Hove – Always check availability on 01273 292044.

Horsdean Transit Site – 23 Pitches
Braypool Lane
Brighton
07795 336455 – Site Warden

East Sussex

Traveller Sites Manager
Mark Tolhurst – mark.tolhurst@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 482398 or 07825 358351

Bridies Tan
1 Southerham Lane
Lewes
BN86DY

Site Warden
Fran McDuff – fran.mcduff@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 487485 or 07824 362751

West Sussex

There are no Transit Sites in West Sussex.

Management of Unauthorised Encampments

An unauthorised encampment is defined as a group of people with vehicles who are trespassing on land without the owners consent. In Sussex we have a number of unauthorised encampments throughout the year. The vast majority in Sussex occur on land owned by the Local Authorities. It is the Local Authority’s responsibility to take the lead on managing that encampment. The process for dealing with these unauthorised encampments has been agreed by the councils within Sussex and by Senior Officers.

It should be emphasised that police can only deal with encampments where the legislative powers apply.
At this time there are permanent sites in both East and West Sussex and Brighton & Hove has a Transit Site at Horsdean.

Joint Working Policy and protocols with the local authorities have to be agreed as follows:-

When an unauthorised encampment occurs, police will visit the site within 24 hours. If the encampment arrives during a weekday the Local Authority will ask for police to attend the site for a joint visit. This is an excellent opportunity for GTLO’s to become involved. The purpose of this visit is for the Local Authority Travellers Liaison Officers to carry out the relevant health and welfare checks on all residents. The Local Authority will identify if those present have committed criminal damage to their land to facilitate entry. If this has occurred, the police rely on witnesses to assist in making a formal identification of those concerned. Police will speak to the group and ascertain their intentions, where they have come from, and advise the group about their behaviour while present. At the conclusion of the visit, the Local Authority will meet with police and decide what the council’s legal response will be to deal with the unauthorised encampment.

When considering what options are open to them they will take into account:

•if the location of the encampment presents a risk to those on site (e.g. contaminated land or other hazard) or

•if the land itself is of a particularly sensitive nature (e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest) or

•it can be shown that the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the settled community to make use of facilities or conduct their business.

If none of the above is relevant, the Local Authority will either allow the encampment or consider legal proceedings under Part 55 Civil Procedure Rules. The latter will require the Local Authority to provide witness statements to their legal department and make an application at the County Court. In addition to this, the Local Authority also has powers at their disposal contrary to S.77 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The onus for dealing with unauthorised encampments rests with the land owner. If a transit site within the same Local Authority is available, they can offer the trespassers this facility. On occasion, the Travellers will refuse this offer and whenever this occurs, the Local Authority can consider requesting police use powers contrary to S.62A-E Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. In Sussex, only an officer at the rank of Superintendent or above can authorise use of these powers.

When considering this request, the Superintendent must that the following have occurred:

•one or more people are trespassing on the land

•that the trespassers have between them at least one vehicle on the land

•that the trespassers are present on the land with the common purpose of residing there for any period

•it appears to the police officer that the person has one or more caravans in his possession or under his control on the land

•there is a suitable pitch on a relevant caravan site, for that caravan or each of those caravans

•the occupier of the land or a person acting on his behalf has asked police to remove the trespassers from the land

NB Police do not have the legislative powers to direct trespassers to any other piece of land other than to a relevant caravan site. Relevant caravan site means:

(a) situated in the area of a Local Authority

and

(b) managed by a relevant site manager

In exceptional circumstances, when all other options have been explored, the Local Authority will make a request for police to use powers contrary to S.61 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The Superintendent will need to be satisfied that:

•two or more people are trespassing on land

•they are present there with the common purpose of residing there for any period

•that reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave

•that any of those persons have caused damage to the land or to property on the land or
used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier, a member of his family or an employee or agent of his

or

•that people on the land have between them six or more vehicles

In addition the Superintendent will want to be satisfied that the:

•location of the encampment does not present a risk to those on site (e.g. contaminated land or other hazard) or

•the land itself is not of a particularly sensitive nature (e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest) or

•it can be shown the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the settled community to make use of facilities or conduct their business.

As caravans are deemed to be Gypsy Traveller homes within the Human Rights Act, any action taken must be deemed justified, lawful and necessary.

Once all of the above have been assessed, the Superintendent may direct those individuals or the group to leave the land and to remove any vehicles or other property they have with them on the land.

NB This power does NOT include trespassers on a town or village green or any land which forms part of a highway. However, S.77 contrary to CJ&PO Act 1994, available only to the Local Authority, covers any land including the highway.

Whenever powers contrary to S.62A-E or S.61 CJ&PO Act 1994 are authorised, the Superintendent will tolerate the trespassers on the land for the remainder of the day in order that the families can have an evening meal together, that the children can have an undisturbed sleep and that the families do not have to travel during the night. The residents will be informed that their presence will be tolerated until a specified time and failure to leave will result in police enforcing these powers. Sussex Police will always enforce these powers if the trespassers refuse to leave.

In cases where you receive a request from the land owner for use of powers contrary to CJ&PO Act 1994, the forms below are provided for your use. These papers should be retained by the Supt authorising use for a period of 7 years.

Code of Conduct on Unauthorised Encampments

To ensure that members of both the Settled and Travelling communities can live together peacefully, it is not unreasonable to expect Travellers to comply with this Code of Conduct, drawn up by ACPO as a guide to assist Officers. It is expected that the land occupied is treated with respect and that care is shown for the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area.

Behaviour that may result in an eviction from a site includes the following:

•camping on any land designated as a public amenity, such as parks, recreation areas, school fields and similar locations

•interfering with the rights and freedoms of other members of the public, including interrupting the operation of legitimate businesses

•forcing entry to land by causing damage to any fixtures, fittings or landscaping (including planted areas). This includes digging away of earthwork defences which have been placed at landowner’s expense to prevent trespass

•causing any other damage to the land itself or property on it. Particular care should be taken not to cause damage to those features provided as public amenities

•driving vehicles along any footpath, or other highway not specifically designed for road vehicles. This practice is not only unlawful but is also highly dangerous

•parking vehicles or caravans on any road, footpath or other highway where they cause an obstruction to other people wanting to pass by. This includes parking immediately next to footpaths

•dumping or tipping rubbish, waste materials or trade waste such as tree cuttings, rubble, etc. It is the Travellers’ responsibility to keep the site clean and tidy. Council Traveller Liaison Officers can direct Travellers to Civic Amenity Sites (Council tips) where they will be able to pay to dispose of trade waste

•use of the area as a toilet. Travellers must not deposit or leave human waste openly in public areas

•abuse, intimidate or harass any person who is lawfully using the area

•cause excessive noise or other forms of anti-social behaviour

•keep animals that are not under control or which attack persons who are lawfully on the land or nearby

•interfere with electrical, water or gas supplies. Anyone found abstracting electricity or wasting quantities of water may be subject to criminal proceedings

These codes are the same standards of behaviour which are expected of the Settled Community. The Police are committed to ensuring that all policing issues which affect Travellers are done so legally, proportionately and fairly; however behaviour that is deemed unacceptable within society will not be tolerated.

Legislation

PART 55 CONTRARY TO CIVIL PROCEDURE RULES

LOCAL AUTHORITY ONLY

With the majority of unauthorised encampments, the Local Authority will pursue proceedings for a Possession Order for the land contrary to Part 55 CPR. This requires them to provide witness statements to the County Court where the application is heard. In such cases the GTLO should remain in contact with the relevant authority to ensure timescales for any action are monitored. Once approved this power prevents the trespasser from returning for a period of three months.

S.77 CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994

LOCAL AUTHORITY POWER ONLY

Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 empowers Local Authorities to direct unauthorised campers (e.g. Travellers) to leave land in the open air where they are trespassing, including any land forming part of the highway. Once served, this notice prevents the trespasser from re-entering the land for a period of three months.
For full details of powers please access S.77 CJ&PO Act 1994

NB – In proceedings for an offence under this section, it is a defence for the accused to show that their failure to leave or to remove the vehicle or other property as soon as practicable, or their re-entry with a vehicle, was due to illness, mechanical breakdown or other immediate emergency.

S.78 CRIMINAL JUSTICE & PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994

LOCAL AUTHORITY POWER ONLY

Section 78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 empowers Local Authorities to remove unauthorised campers (e.g. Travellers) from land in the open air where they are trespassing. A Magistrates’ Court may, on a complaint made by a Local Authority, if satisfied that persons and vehicles in which they are residing are present on land within that authority’s area in contravention of a direction given under section 77, make an order requiring the removal of any vehicle or other property which is so present on the land and any person residing in it. An order under this section may authorise the Local Authority to take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that the order is complied with and, in particular, may authorise the authority, by its officers and servants:

(a) to enter upon the land specified in the order; and
(b) to take, in relation to any vehicle or property to be removed in pursuance of the order, such steps for securing entry and rendering it suitable for removal as may be so specified

NB – The local authority shall not enter upon any occupied land unless they have given to the owner and occupier at least 24 hours notice of their intention to do so, or unless after reasonable inquiries they are unable to ascertain their names and addresses.

For full details of powers please access S.78 CJ&PO Act 1994

S.62A-E CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994

Section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 creates a power for a Senior Police Officer (Superintendent and above – Sussex Police Force Policy) to direct a person to leave land and remove any vehicle or other property with him on that land.

62A(1) If the Senior Police Officer reasonably believes that the conditions in subsection (2) are satisfied in relation to a person and land, he may direct the person:

(a) to leave the land;

(b) to remove any vehicle and other property he has with him on the land.

62A(2) The conditions are:

(a) that the person and one or more others (the trespassers) are trespassing on the land;

(b) that the trespassers have between them at least one vehicle on the land;

(c) that the trespassers are present on the land with the common purpose of residing there for any period;

(d) if it appears to the Superintendent that the person has one or more caravans in his possession or under his control on the land, that there is a suitable pitch on a relevant caravan site (see subsection 6 below) for that caravan or each of those caravans;

(e) that the occupier of the land or a person acting on his behalf has asked the Police to remove the trespassers from the land

NB – The conditions in this section are fewer than under Section 61 of the 1994 Act. This section concentrates more on the simple fact of trespassing for the purpose of residence (hence the need to prove that alternative sites for caravans exist).

The Officer must consult every Local Authority within whose area the land is situated as to whether there is a suitable pitch for the caravan or each of the caravans on a relevant caravan site which is situated in the Local Authority’s area.

62A(6) In this section:

Caravan and Caravan Site have the same meanings as in part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960;

Relevant Caravan Site means a caravan site which is:

(a) situated in the area of a Local Authority within whose area the land is situated, and

(b) managed by a relevant site manager;

Relevant Site Manager means:

(a) a Local Authority within whose area the land is situated;

(aa) a private registered provider of social housing;

(b) a registered social landlord;

For full details of powers please access S.62A CJ&PO Act 1994

Section 62B Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

If a person fails to comply with a direction given under section 62A, or if, within three months he returns to any land in the area of the relevant Local Authority with the intention of residing there.

62B(1) A person commits an offence if he knows that a direction under section 62A(1) has been given which applies to him and:

(a) he fails to leave the relevant land as soon as reasonably practicable, or

(b) he enters any land in the area of the relevant Local Authority as a trespasser before the end of the relevant period with the intention of residing there

NB – The relevant period is the period of three months starting with the day on which the direction is given.

Defence – It is a defence for the accused to show:

(a) that he was not trespassing on the land in respect of which he is alleged to have committed the offence, or

(b) that he had a reasonable excuse

(i) for failing to leave the relevant land as soon as reasonably practicable, or

(ii) for entering land in the area of the relevant Local Authority as a trespasser with the intention of residing there, or

(c) that, at the time the direction was given, he was under the age of 18 years and was residing with his parent or guardian

For full details of powers please access S.62B CJ&PO Act 1994

Section 62C Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

Provides the power for a Constable to seize and remove a vehicle, if he suspects that the person who owns or controls the vehicle has committed an offence under section 62B and the offence relates to the vehicle. 62C(1) This section applies if a direction has been given under section 62A(1) and a Constable reasonably suspects that a person to whom the direction applies has, without reasonable excuse:

(a) failed to remove any vehicle on the relevant land which appears to the Constable to belong to him or to be in his possession or under his control; or

(b) entered any land in the area of the relevant Local Authority as a trespasser with a vehicle before the end of the relevant period with the intention of residing there

NB – The relevant period is the period of three months starting with the day on which the direction is given.

For full details of powers please access S.62C CJ&PO Act 1994

Section 62D Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

This section makes necessary modifications to sections 62A, 62B and 62C in their application to common land. In their application to common land sections 62A, 62B and 62C have effect with these modifications. References to trespassing and trespassers have effect as if they were references to acts, and persons doing acts, which constitute:

(a) a trespass as against the occupier, or
(b) an infringement of the commoners’ rights

NB – In this section common land, commoner and the Local Authority have the meanings given by section 61.

For full details please access S.62D CJ&PO Act 1994

Section 62E Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

This section provides the interpretation of terms used in sections 62A to 62D. Land does not include buildings other than:

(a) agricultural buildings within the meaning of paragraphs 3 to 8 of Schedule 5 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988, or

(b) scheduled monuments within the meaning of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

NB – The definition of ‘land’ includes roads, footpath, bridleway, byway or cycle track. Local Authority means – a county council, or a district council. A person may be regarded as having a purpose of residing in a place even if he has a home elsewhere.

For full details please access S.62E CJ&PO Act 1994

S.61 CONTRARY TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994

ONLY TO BE USED IN EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 allows the Senior Police Officer (Superintendent or above in Sussex) attending the scene of an incident involving a trespass or nuisance on land to order trespassers to leave the land and to remove their vehicles as soon as reasonably practicable.

In exceptional circumstances the Supt will authorise use of these powers if it can be shown:

•two or more persons are trespassing on land and are present there with the common purpose of residing there for any period,

•that reasonable steps have been taken by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave and

•that any of those persons has caused damage to the land or to property on the land or

•used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier, a member of his family or an employee or agent of his, OR

•that those persons have between them six or more vehicles on the land,
He may direct those persons, or any of them, to leave the land and to remove any vehicles or other property they have with them on the land.

NB – Sussex Police Force Policy and Joint Working Protocol state S.61 will ONLY be authorised and in addition to the above if:

•the location of the encampment presents a risk to those on the site (e.g. contaminated land or other hazard or

•the land itself is of a particularly sensitive nature (e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest) or

•it can be shown the presence of the encampment is seriously disrupting the ability of the Settled Community to make use of the facilities or conduct their business.

For full details of powers please access S.61 CJPO Act 1994

SUSSEX POLICE FORCE POLICY – Routine Orders 611/2008

Force Policy 611/2011 is currently under review at the time of this guide.

Routine Order 09/2008 – POLICING OF GYPSY AND TRAVELLER COMMUNITIES

The tactics used by Sussex Police to gather intelligence on the Gypsy and Traveller community have been raised by our independent advisory group as a matter of concern.

There have been reports of officers driving onto sites at night, disturbing the residents, in order to record vehicle indexes. A Gypsy / Traveller caravan is considered by the Courts to be a “home” wherever it is situated and accordingly police activity that interferes with the occupants’ private life must be justified under the Human Rights Act 2000. Staff are reminded to avoid any activity that will disturb residents at night without good reason.

There have also been complaints of the blanket use of PNC markers on all vehicles using sites, leading to repeated stop and search activity on members of that community without justification. Staff are reminded that use of PNC markers must be for justified operational reasons, where the information or intelligence necessitates action to be taken to be taken by Police to deal with the vehicle. It is also important that markers are subject to regular review and removed when no longer necessary.

Activity to target offenders within the Gypsy and Traveller community is fully supported by Sussex Police, but must be focused on those individuals with due regard for the rights of others.

Using this guide will assist you enormously in your role. Please use it and refer to it and don’t be afraid to challenge colleagues as well as Council officials.

 

Appendix D: Local Authority Contact List

This appendix is redacted under the Freedom of Information Act

Appendix E: Written Application to Direct Trespassers- Alternative Site Available Section 62A-E

Appendix F: Written Application for the Removal of an Unauthorised Encampment Section 61

For a copy of these appendices please apply to the Sussex Police Force Policy Officer

 

Appendix G: Unauthorised Encampments Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct on Unauthorised Encampments

To ensure those members of both the settled and Travelling communities can live together in a peaceful and unprejudiced way we expect you to comply with this Code of Conduct. We expect you to treat the land you have occupied with respect, and that you respect the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area.

Behaviour that may result in your eviction from a site includes the following:

Code of Conduct on Unauthorised Encampments

To ensure those members of both the settled and Travelling communities can live together in a peaceful and unprejudiced way we expect you to comply with this Code of Conduct. We expect you to treat the land you have occupied with respect, and that you respect the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area.

Behaviour that may result in your eviction from a site includes the following:

Interfering with the rights and freedoms of other members of the public, including interrupting the operation of legitimate businesses.

Forcing entry to land, by causing damage to any fixtures, fittings or landscaping (including planted areas). This includes digging away of earthwork defences, which have been placed at landowner’s expense to prevent trespass.

Causing any other damage to the land itself, or property on it. Particular care should be taken not to cause damage to those features provided as public amenities.

Driving vehicles of any description along any footpath, or other highway not specifically designed for road vehicles. This practice is not only unlawful but is also highly dangerous.

Parking vehicles or caravans on any road, footpath or other highway that causes an obstruction to other people wanting to pass by. This includes parking immediately next to footpaths.

Dumping or tipping rubbish, waste materials or trade waste such as tree cuttings, rubble, etc. It is your responsibility to keep the site clean and tidy. Council Traveller Liaison Officers can direct you to Civic Amenity Sites (Council tips) where you will be able to pay to dispose of trade waste.

Use of the area as a toilet. You must not deposit or leave human waste openly in public areas.

Abuse, intimidation or harassment of any person who is lawfully using the area.

Excessive noise or other forms of anti-social behaviour.

Animals that are not kept under control or that attack persons lawfully on the land, or nearby.

Interference with electrical, water or gas supplies. Any person(s) found abstracting electricity, or wasting quantities of water may be subject of criminal proceedings.

These codes are the same standards of behaviour that are expected of the settled community. Sussex Police are committed to ensuring that all policing issues that affect you are balanced; however behaviour that is deemed unacceptable within society will not be tolerated.

 

Appendix H: Site Provision in Sussex

Permanent Sites

Brighton & Hove
There are no permanent sites in Brighton & Hove

East Sussex

Traveller Sites Manager Mark Tolhurst – mark.tolhurst@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 482398 or 07825 358351

1. Swanbarn Caravan Site
Station Rd
Hailsham
BN272RU
No Site Warden

2. Battsbridge Caravan Site
Battsbridge Rd
Maresfield
TN222HN
No Site Warden

3. Pollyarch Caravan Site
Off Lynholme Rd
Polegate
BN266JP

4. Redlands Caravan Site
Redlands Lane
Robertsbridge
TN325NE

West Sussex

1. Easthampnett Caravan Park – 1.1 Hectares 22 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Marsh Lane
Tangmere,
Chichester
West Sussex
PO18 0JN

2. Westbourne Caravan Park – 0.79 Hectares 14 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Cemetery Lane
Westbourne
Hampshire
PO10 8RZ

3. Ryebank Caravan Park – 0.7 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Bilsham Road
Yapton
West Sussex
BN18 0JZ

4. Withy Patch Caravan Park – 0.6 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Old Shoreham Road
Lancing
West Sussex
BN15 0RT

5. Adversane Caravan Park – 0.61 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
Stane Street
Adversane
Billingshurst
West Sussex RH14 9GZ

6. Cousins Copse Caravan Park – 1.3 Hectares 11 Pitches plus Resident Manager
The Haven
Slinfold
Horsham
West Sussex
RH14 9JW

7. Fairplace Hill Caravan Site – 2700m2 – 9 Pitches
Isaacs Lane
Burgess Hill
RH15 8QX

8. Horsgate Caravan Park – 3000m2 – 3 Pitches
Hanyle Lane,
Cuckfield,
Haywards Heath
RH16 1XN

9. Walstead Caravan Site – 3500m2 – 4 Pitches
East Mascalls Lane
Haywards Heath

10. Bedlands Caravan Site – 4200m2 – 9 Pitches
Valebridge Road
Burgess Hill
RH15 8AU

11. Small Dole Site – Contact John Loxley, john.loxley@horsham.gov.uk or 01403 215483
Hillside Lane
Small Dole,
Henfield
West Sussex.

Transit Sites in Sussex

Brighton & Hove – Always check availability on 01273 292044.

Horsdean Transit Site – 23 Pitches
Braypool Lane
Brighton
07795 336455 – Site Warden

East Sussex

Traveller Sites Manager
Mark Tolhurst – mark.tolhurst@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 482398 or 07825 358351

Bridies Tan
1 Southerham Lane
Lewes
BN86DY
Site Warden
Fran McDuff – fran.mcduff@eastsussex.gov.uk or 01273 487485 or 07824 362751

West Sussex

There are no Transit Sites in West Sussex.

 

Appendix I: ACPO Guidance on Unauthorised Encapments

http://www.acpo.police.uk/documents/edhr/2011/20110913%20EDHR%20ACPO%20Guidance%20on%20Unauthorised%20Encampments%20Revised_Version%2013_Internet_June%202011.pdf

 

Appendix J: Dept for Communities Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/157323.pdf

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