Police And Council Respond To MK Traveller Issues
4 August 2018, 10:05 | Updated: 4 August 2018, 10:56
After a number of illegal traveller stops around Milton Keynes - police say they're stepping up patrols.
One of the issues though in the borough is there are no legal council designated places for them to be moved to.
MK Council says they are looking at how they can address that problem - but - they have no money to do so... and may need help from government.
Superintendent Yvette Hitch, the local area commander for Thames Valley Police says:
"I am very aware that there have been concerns raised by local residents about the presence of unlawful encampments in Milton Keynes and I reassure you that we continue to work proactively with our key partner agencies, including the local authority, to address the issue. The responsibility and legal powers for dealing with unlawful encampments rests with a number of agencies and also the landowner.
There are also a number of powers which the police can use, wherever it is necessary and proportionate to do so:
under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act the police have powers to move unlawful encampments from the land. Specific criteria and aggravating factors need to be present for this power to be applied.
This prevents the offender from re-entering the specified area of land as a trespasser within the next 3 months.
The legislation does not cover other land in the area and there is no police power to prevent movement onto other land in the Milton Keynes area.
Under Section 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act the police have powers to direct unlawful encampments to designated council sites. However, as there is no provision within the Milton Keynes area for these sites, this power is not available to us.
There are also police powers in relation to crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour which we have and will continue to use when there is evidence of criminal offences being committed.
I have put in place additional police patrols to provide visible reassurance to the community and to deal with any police-related matters. This will be enhanced where required. My neighbourhood teams will continue to work closely with the local community to provide reassurance as required.
We will also continue to work with our partners to support them in exercising their powers such as illegal fly tipping and environmental health issues.
If you do witness any crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour please report it to us using the following methods:
Report a crime or incident online at https://www.thamesvalley.police.uk/
101 - non-emergency for reporting something that does not require an immediate police response
999 – for a crime or incident happening at that time and requiring an immediate police response"
MK Council Leader Peter Marland response
"MK Council is working hard with all partners, including the police, to move unauthorised encampments on quickly, and have moved nearly 70 since June.
We are aware the the police are unable to use the full extent of their powers because we have a very limited number of approved sites.
It could also prove a significant barrier to establishing other measures we are investigating using.
We are looking at how we could address this, but we have no funding available and it may require help from government to deliver even if we can identify a possible site."