I help to keep our country safe, protect our values and preserve our way of life. I work with the Police, Councillors & businesses to tackle crime head on and support local initiatives. I helped secure additional Police funding of up to £8.8 million for 2018/19 resulting in 150 new officers for Essex Police and a further £23 million for 2019/2020 resulting in another 125 new officers.
Tackling illegal traveller encampments
Tackling illegal traveller encampments and stopping trespassers is a priority for me as your Member of Parliament. Locally we have seen problems in the past with illegal encampments and the additional law breaking which can come with these. Therefore, I am pleased that the Government has introduction the landmark Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill which will ensure we strengthen the rule of law, for Police in England and Wales, to tackle these illegal camps.
To ensure the small minority of travellers which cause problems, through abusive behaviour and extensive litter and waste at illegal sites is curtailed, this Bill will introduce a new criminal offence where a person who resides or intends to reside on any public or private land without permission and has caused, or is likely to cause, significant harm, obstruction, or harassment or distress.
In addition, the Bill amends the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to broaden the list of harms that can be considered by the police when directing people away from land; and increase the period in which persons directed away from land must not return from three months to 12 months. Amendments to the 1994 Act will in addition allow police to direct trespassers away from land that forms part of a highway.
I can reassure you that the Government has taken steps to ensure that those exercising their rights to enjoy the countryside are not inadvertently impacted by these measures. These new measures are a proportionate and necessary increase in powers for the police.
The vast majority of the travelling community are decent law-abiding people and we must ensure that there are legal sites available for travellers, however, it is important that we put a stop to any unlawful trespass. The introduction of the landmark Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill will ensure we strengthen the rule of law for Police in England and Wales.
You can follow the passage of the Bill here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2839