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«NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED Joint Agency Protocol for responding to unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller Encampments. Final version May 2011 Policy ...»

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NOT PROTECTIVELY MARKED

Joint Agency Protocol for responding to

unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller

Encampments.

Final version May 2011

Policy Statement.

1. It is recognised that Gypsies and Travellers are not the only groups

to be involved in unauthorised camping. The intention of focusing

this protocol on the Travelling community is to ensure that their

needs are part of the solution to any problems arising from unauthorised encampment.

2. There will be a joint agency approach to unauthorised encampment in Cumbria that will balance the needs of Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community, reflect compliance with applicable law and take account of Government guidance and the Equality and the Human Rights Commission.

3. There will be Joint Agency Gypsy and Traveller Groups at practitioner level, including Gypsy and Traveller representatives, in each council area. These groups will meet twice a year, with additional meetings being called if any partner perceives a need.

4. A county Joint Agency Gypsy and Traveller group, including Gypsy and Traveller representatives will meet to discuss issues related to the Protocol as need arises.

5. Each agency signing this document has or will develop their own policies and practices which will sit beneath this protocol.

6. The Protocol and associated policies and strategies will be equality impact assessed.

Other associated documents:

Cumbria Constabulary Gypsy and Traveller policy Cumbria Constabulary Unauthorised encampment policy Cumbria Constabulary Additional Guidance to Unauthorised encampment Gypsy and Traveller Culture guide Cumbria County Six Districts Strategy

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The Parties undersigned agree to the policy statement and the attached guidelines. The Policy and Guidelines apply to all unauthorised encampments by Gypsies and Travellers, including New Travellers, and to authorised encampments, whether temporary or permanent, where problems are identified.

Agency Signature Full name Date Cumbria Constabulary Cumbria County Council Copeland BC Allerdale BC Barrow BC South Lakeland DC Eden D C Carlisle City C.

Cumbria PCT RSPCA

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Contents:

Aims 5

1. Who does the policy relate to? 5

2. The Introduction 6

2.1.1 Five key principles 6 2.1.2. Terms and definitions 6

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Aims To manage unauthorised encampments in an efficient and effective way • taking account of the potential level of nuisance for local residents and the rights and responsibilities of Gypsies and Travellers.

To establish effective communication between partners, the settled • community and Gypsies and Travellers.

To help strike an appropriate balance between the needs and legitimate • expectations of members of the settled community, local businesses and other landowners, and Gypsies and Travellers.

To set out recommended courses of action which local authorities, the • police and other partner agencies should follow to provide an effective response to unauthorised camping in their areas.

To develop a more consistent approach to unauthorised encampments • across the county.

To involve the settled and Gypsy/Traveller communities in the • development of the Protocol.

To improve records of unauthorised encampments.

1. Who does the protocol relate to?

This protocol relates to all travelling groups and all unauthorised encampments in Cumbria outside of Appleby Fair. The Multi Agency Co-ordinating group (MACG) works to resolve the issues associated with unauthorised encampments associated with Appleby Fair. Their principles are the same, but the detail is different.

The Protocol also relates to New Travellers. The issues raised by encampments are similar and the education welfare and homelessness duties are identical.

Travellers themselves have difficulty in providing an appropriate name for their

whole group. The main groups are:

The Romanies or ‘Romany chals’ of England and Wales;

• The Kale of North Wales;

• The Romanies who have come to the UK from Europe in the last hundred • years;

Irish Travellers;

• Scottish Travellers;

• Show and Fairground Travellers;

• Bargees and other families living in boats;

• New Travellers;

• Some would prefer to be called Gypsies and others Travellers. The Equal Opportunities Commission recommends the terms Travellers or Gypsy, as an overarching title for all traditional, indigenous, hereditary Travellers. (Equal Opportunities Committee Ist Report 2001).

Consideration should be given to the choice of name for any particular group. In most cases and in communication it will be reasonable to use the term Traveller.

In written communications the terms should be capitalised.

Unauthorised developments are outside the scope of this document.

2.0. Introduction The first joint agency protocol was agreed in April 2004. This is the second revision. Key partners are the Highways, Children’s Services departments of the County Council, district councils, the police, the Fire Service, health, the Cumbria Traveller Programme and Gypsies and Travellers. Many other agencies and groups have supported the Gypsy and Traveller joint agency work in the last 8 years.





Representatives of the Gypsy and Traveller community have been involved in developing this protocol.

2.1. Five key principles to be considered when responding to

unauthorised encampments:

The Joint Agency group recognises their statutory and moral responsibility to • work together for the safety and well being of Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community.

Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community are entitled to live free • from crime, harassment and intimidation.

Gypsies and Travellers should have equitable access to Services.

• A nomadic way of life is legitimate.

• Gypsies and Travellers who offend will be treated in the same manner as any • one else who challenges the rule of law.

2.1.2. Terms and definitions Gypsy and Traveller (EU definitions)-an overarching title for all traditional, indigenous, hereditary Travellers. (Equal Opportunities Committee Ist Report 2001) Unauthorised Encampments -are considered to be those where a group of

Gypsies or Travellers have established themselves:

a) on any land forming part of the public road or

b) on any unoccupied land without the consent of the landowner.

c) Anywhere where an encampment is established with out planning permission.

Officer. In this document the word officer, unless qualified, is used to refer to an official from one of the co-operating agencies.

Unauthorised encampment: ODPM definition: trespassing by people on land which they do not own.

Local Authority: There is a two tier arrangement in Cumbria: The County Council and six district Councils. For the service considerations relevant to this document: the district councils have responsibility for assessing and meeting

–  –  –

housing/site needs and waste collection. The County Council have responsibility for strategic planning, adult and children’s services and highways 2.1.3. Who takes the lead for each unauthorised encampment?

In line with the Government ‘Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping guidelines’, the ‘local authority’ will be the lead agency in managing unauthorised camping in its area and this will be taken to mean the District Councils. There will be circumstances where other agencies will take the lead.

The police will take the lead where urgent action is needed e.g. in the use of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (CJPOA) s61.

Who ever leads this work, all agencies carry their own responsibility to respond appropriately to unauthorised encampments.

Each encampment location will 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.

Wherever possible, local authorities and/or police will seek to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from establishing an encampment in an unacceptable location.

2. 2. Background Information 2.2.1 Accommodation available for Gypsies and Travellers in Cumbria:

Private authorised sites with both permanent and transit provision;

Fair Hill in Penrith, (residential and transit) and • Hadrians Park near Carlisle (residential and transit).

• Schneider Road in Barrow (residential) • Behind Lower Harker Dene contact Isaac Stewart (10 residential) • There is a local authority permanent site at Lower Harker Dene (formerly Ghyll Bank) near Carlisle.

There are authorised sites for Showmen in Carlisle, Wigton and Kendal.

No sites have been identified as allowed or tolerated.

2.2. Patterns of travel:

Associated with Appleby:

Appleby Fair is always in the second week of June. It is one of the largest horse Fairs in Europe and a very important event in the Gypsy calendar. The Royal charter for the fair dates back to 1685.

The population of Appleby ward in the last census was 1317. There are in excess of 96.000 visitors over the fair week end. There have been no official vehicle counts. It is estimated that 30,000 – 52, 000 vehicles go to Appleby on the Saturday of the Fair…so congestion and parking are serious issues. It is estimated that 10,000 people stay in the Eden area during Fair week. The fair is mainly about horse sales, harness racing, flashing…or showing off the horses to there best advantage and grooming.

Associated with Brough Fair:

Brough Fair has grown in the last few years, but is still fairly small. It lasts for a week and takes place at the end of September. There are very few unauthorised encampments associated with this event which is held in a private field.

Other patterns:

There is some evidence to suggest that unauthorised encampments in the west of the county are by people from the North east and Lancashire visiting relatives. Some Travellers, notably Irish Travellers appear to be en-route through the county using the M6 corridor.

2.2.3. Local support for Travellers in Cumbria Children’s Servicesfor information about support available contact 01228 606060 The Cumbria Travellers Programme and Cumbria Voice Contact Ann Taylor. Email: anne@equantic.org.uk. The staff may be available to support District Councils with visits to unauthorised encampments and Needs Essessments.

Travellers in Barrow A small group of Travellers in Barrow are developing a community group. For more information please contact Cumbria Multicultural Service.

The County Council Multicultural service (CMCS) CMCS is an advocacy service, providing information and advocacy support to people from all Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds; including Gypsies and Travellers, through telephone, e-mail and face to face contacts in outreach surgeries, including Barrow, Carlisle, Penrith, Maryport and Windermere.

The service supports Black and Minority Ethnic people to have a voice and participate in public services.

The service is open 9.00am - 5.00pm, Monday to Friday and if you need a service, or wish to make a referral please contact – Tel: 01229 833933 or e-mail: cms@cumbriacc.gov.uk

3.0. Recording Decisions and Sharing Information Recording decisions All decisions (including the rationale behind any decision to allow an encampment to remain for a period) must be fully recorded and documented.

Any damage and nuisance should be charted in writing; a photographic or video record might also be taken in support. Records should also be kept of all complaints received about the encampment, with comments as to their validity.

Information passed to unauthorised campers should be recorded, along with offers of assistance made - for example help with a housing application, offer of a pitch on an authorised site - and the response. Similarly it would be good practice to record the fact that an encampment was unproblematic and did not cause nuisance or damage. Any complaints received, including any from Gypsy/Traveller unauthorised campers, should be recorded. A summary of the information should be recorded on the form in appendix (iii).

This information will be useful in assessing the need for further site provision, site protection priorities and in setting budgets and appropriate staffing levels. It provides material on which a risk-based response to encampments could be developed drawing on past experience relating to the site or the group/family involved Sharing Information Non personal information about Gypsy and Traveller unauthorised encampments will be shared at least bi-annually at Joint agency meetings: before Appleby Fair in April/May, and at the end of the summer after Brough Fair September /October.

As a minimum, information should include the location of encampments, the number of caravans/vehicles involved, the number of visible people recorded by age and the duration of each encampment.

The form for recording this information is in appendix (iii) Local co-operation to share data between the police, the local council and the Cumbria Travellers project should enable partners to better understand the travelling patterns and service delivery needs of Travellers visiting Cumbria. This information is essential if accommodation needs are to be met. The local council will lead on this issue.

4. Site provision is the responsibility of the District Council.

The ‘Assessment of Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Needs’ report was published in 2008 and identified a need for 85 more permanent and 55 more transit pitches across Cumbria.

Lower Harker Dene (formerly Ghyll Bank) 15 pitches opened April 2010.



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