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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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Risk is normally assessed by the level or seriousness of the threat, on a scale of 1-3 and by multiplying this by the likelihood of the threat actually happening, again on a basis of 1-3. For these purposes, in terms of seriousness, 1 is minimal; perhaps the presence of a single family or small group of Travellers while 3 would be appropriate for a much larger gathering, where problems could be anticipated due to the sheer number of people present, regardless of their background or origin. Likelihood follows a similar scale, where 1 is unlikely to occur, 2 will happen sooner or later, and 3 are likely to happen today, or possibly has already occurred. The result gives scores between 1 and 9, where 1 is very low overall risk and 9 is very high.

For unauthorised encampments examples of how this could operate is set out below: Threat could be interpreted as follows: Low, located in a remote location, not environmentally sensitive, unlikely to interfere with settled community.

2- Medium, located away from centres of population but where disruption may occur to population or premises nearby. (For example potential problems at a nearby public house) 3 - High, located close to a centre of population, environmentally sensitive area, or other area giving particular cause for concern (e.g. school playground, city centre car park) Likelihood could be interpreted as follows: Low - small numbers intending to stay for short period. No known intelligence indicating likely criminal activity or disorder 2 - Medium - a larger group with a longer stay planned (say over 3 nights?) some evidence of minor disorder or confrontation 3- High - large group with indefinite stay planned. Specific intelligence exists to suggest criminal activity or serious disorder. Evidence of serious disorder/confrontation having already occurred with settled community

Specific examples using this system would be: Small group of caravans stop overnight on a section of old road at Stainmore:

Threat = 1 (Low), Likelihood =1 (Low) so Risk = 1x1 =1 Low

2) Small group of vans pull up close to a school for a few nights: Threat = 2 (medium), Likelihood = 1 (Low) Risk =2x1 = 2 (Low)

3) A large group take up residence on the outskirts of a small village. They indicate that they will be staying for two weeks until a wedding takes place.

Intelligence exists to indicate that members of this same group were involved in


disorder and criminality in another force area prior to coming to Penrith. Threat = 3 (High), Likelihood = 3 High, Risk = 3x3 = 9 (High) In the examples given a proportionate response would probably be to monitor the first two groups and take more positive action with the third. Applying a risk assessment assists us to objectively justify the course of action we take, and the risk can be reassessed at any time if circumstances change.

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Appendix. (iii).

Gypsy and Traveller unauthorised encampment Initial risk assessment and information form Please complete and retain for your records.

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Person completing the form Location of the encampment: grid reference/postcode (written detail please) Dates of the encampment………………………………………….

Duration in days………………..

Number of caravans ……………………….Number of vehicles……………..

Visible number of adults……… 5-16 year olds……………… under 5’s…………….

Initial needs identified ………………………………………………………………………………………………… Additional Information……………………………………………………………………………..

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Action taken:…………………………………………………………………………………………


Scoring on a basis of 1 to 3 (1=Low Risk) (2 = Medium) (3= High Risk)

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5 to 8 Low Risk 9 to 11 Med Risk 12 to 15 High Risk ……………………… date contact was made with person carrying out a thorough ‘Needs Assessment’. Name of person to do assessment………..

Appendix. (iv).

Below is a list of sites where an unauthorised encampment would not normally be acceptable is illustrative only and is not intended to be exhaustive.

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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) •

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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 •

–  –  –

Wherever possible, local authorities and/or police should seek to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from establishing an encampment in an unacceptable location. Where this proves impossible, they should attempt to encourage the unauthorised campers to move to an authorised site where available.

Identification of possible 'acceptable' sites could assist local authorities and the police in the management of unauthorised encampments in circumstances where there are no available pitches on authorised sites.

Appendix. (v).

Code for Gypsies and Travellers in Cumbria.

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

The stay on land will depend on your co-operation.

Please keep groups small and away from built up areas.

Please space yourselves out and park away from other groups.

Please look after the land you park on and don’t cause problems for nearby residents.

Please use black plastic bags for rubbish Please use official refuse tips Please park vehicles safely and keep animals under control Please park on land not needed for other purposes.

Appendix (vi) Frequently Asked Questions.

Question. What can we do with rubbish?

Answer. Ask the local Authority for advice. They will provide you with information about local refuse sites for the disposal of large items and bags in which to leave your rubbish. Please leave the rubbish bags in a pile for collection.

Question. Why is such a fuss made about burning electric cable?

Answer. Please do not burn electric cable. Burning cable is very, very harmful to your health and this is the reason why it is against the law.

Question. Where can Gypsies and Travellers go?

Answer. The risk assessment sheet provides an indication of the types of site from which you are likely to be moved on quickly. It is intended only as a general guide. More information may become more readily available in the near future.

Question. Do the Police have a duty to do anything to help?

The duty of the Police is to preserve the peace and prevent and detect crime. Prevention of trespass is the responsibility of the landowner, not the police.

What can the police do?

Answer.In exceptional circumstances a senior Police Officer has the authority to issue a direction to order the trespassers to leave the land. If the trespassers fail to leave the land within reasonable time, they may be liable to arrest and prosecution. However the police must be satisfied that the landowner has taken all reasonable steps to ask the trespassers to leave.

Remember that the protection of your property is your own responsibility.

Question. Why do Gypsies and travellers make illegal encampments?

Answer. Their way of life means that they travel the country, staying for various periods in different places in order to earn a living. In most cases it has been a way of life for generations.

Question Do the council have a duty to move Gypsies and Travellers when they are encamped without permission?

Answer. No. Councils may move the Gypsies and Travellers on, but it will depend on whether they are on public or private land and whether or not they are causing a problem.

Question. If Gypsies or Travellers camp on my land what can I do?

Answer. Your solicitor can go to the County Court to obtain an order granting you possession of your land or you can ask the local authority to move them on your behalf. You may be asked to pay the councils costs or they may offer only advice.

Question. What if I decide to let them stay on my land?

Answer. Unless you have already obtained permission for a caravan site, or you are a farm where labourers are helping you with fruit picking etc.

you may be in breach of planning acts.

Question. I have seen Gypsies and Travellers camping on the side of the road and sometimes on parks or council owned land. What can the council do in these cases?

Answer. If the Gypsies or Travellers are causing problems, they will be moved on as is reasonable. If they are not causing a problem, the government have asked that the site be tolerated. The council will judge each site on its own merits. In all cases the site is visited and every effort is made to ensure that the site is kept tidy and that there are no public health problems.

Question. If the encampment is obstructing the public highway then the police will move the obstruction.

Answer: This will depend on the circumstances of the obstruction, and in particular whether or not any actual danger is caused. Where the obstruction is purely ‘technical’ the police are unlikely to act for this reason alone.

Question. If the council want to can they force Gypsies and Travellers off a site immediately?

Answer. No. The council must first be able to show that they are on land without the consent of the owner. If the Gypsies and travellers are required to move they need to be asked. If they refuse they may be served with a notice to leave. If they refuse to move the council must go to the Magistrates court to obtain a summons and ask for an order permitting the Council to move the Gypsies or Travellers. If granted they are given 24 hours to leave the site.

Question.Can the Magistrates refuse to grant an order to move the Gypsies and Travellers on?

Answer.Yes. If there is an unavoidable reason as to why they cannot leave the site then an order will not be granted. Further action will then not be taken until the Gypsy/Traveller circumstances have changed.

What is the purpose of the ‘Needs Assessment’?

The purpose of a needs assessment is to facilitate Traveller access to local services, make appropriate decisions about the duration of an unauthorised encampment in any particular location or whether an alternative local stopping place needs to be found.

How should the assessment be carried out?

Information should be available from the ‘Initial Assessment’. A copy of the form appears in appendix… Unauthorised Encampment Protocol.

The purpose of a more detailed ‘Needs Assessment’ should be explained to the Travellers and should only be undertaken with their permission. The assessment should take the form of a conversation during which notes are taken and which covers the issues listed below.

Some will be more relevant than others to a particular situation.

For the purposes of audit trail and sharing information at a later date the following information must be recorded in your notes.

Person completing the form Agency Location of the encampment: grid reference/postcode (written detail please) Dates of the encampment………………………………….

Date of visit to do ‘Needs Assessment’…………………….

Name of the lead person in the encampment………………………..

Other Information to capture:

Names/ number of adults Names and ages of children Family relationships Number of caravans and number of other vehicles

Are there any:

Family needs?...visiting family in the settled community… celebrations/funerals etc Health needs? Are there any current health needs to be addressed?...illness...hospital visits...immunisation…screening…optician…dentist…mental health issues Where are the family registered with a GP?

Educational needs of the children?...What are they for each child?

…pre-school, nursery, secondary college?

Employment or adult training needs?

Accommodation needs?...Transit/temporary site….or permanent site Other welfare issues, perhaps for vulnerable people in the group…perhaps older people, Would the group like safety advice from Cumbria Fire and rescue service?

What happens after the ‘Needs Assessment?

The person carrying out the ‘Needs Assessment’ should facilitate contact with appropriate agencies, but only with the permission of the Travellers. The only exception would be where there were issues of child protection.

Information should be shared with other agencies if relevant to the decisions that might need to be made about the duration of the unauthorised encampment, as soon as possible after the assessment.

The key organisations, will all keep records of the decisions made and the rationale behind them.

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