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Why are police not using powers?

Posted on July 31 2016 at 12:23:26

After Alvechurch Parish Council urged landowners to take precautions to prevent incursions by travellers on their land (The Village July 2016), I recently wrote to our newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, on this subject.

I asked why the police do not exercise their existing powers to evict travellers (i.e. if a certain minimum number of vehicles are present). I said that it was unfair that a landowner should cough up the cost of evicting them through the courts (as well as paying to clear up their mess afterwards) when he already pays his council tax for the police.  

Mr Campion replied, stating that “the needs of the local community and the travelling community had to be balanced” and that he would ensure that West Mercia had “an effective framework within which partners and stakeholders operate’’. He hoped that this would “provide me with sufficient reassurance.” Nope. 

To be fair to the police, government guidelines on this issue make it almost impossible for them to use their powers, such are the conditions that must be satisfied first. Mr Campion’s own Conservative Party did promise tough new measures before the 2010 election but their LibDem partners would have stopped them carrying these out.

Time for local landowners and councillors to demand what Sajid Javid MP is going to do now that these constraints have gone. 

Alaric Birkett, Finstall


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