Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has welcomed the Government’s move to introduce a new criminal offence of ‘intentional trespass,’ through amendments to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
The changes include giving police powers to direct trespassers to suitable authorised sites located in neighbouring local authority areas and increasing the period of time in which trespassers would be able to return to the site from 3 months to 12 months. Further changes include lowering the number of vehicles needed to be involved in an unauthorised encampment before police powers can be exercised from six to two, and enabling the police to remove trespassers from land that forms part of the highway.
For those found guilty of the new offence, a maximum fine of £2,500 as well as a potential jail sentence can be handed down. The law will be demarcated so that it is not applicable to occasional campers, hikers or ramblers who stray on to private land.
PCC John Campion said, “I welcome the move from Government to give more power to the police to remove intentional trespassers.
“Although a nomadic lifestyle is an alternative way of living which should be respected, this needs to be balanced with the needs of communities. Communities have the right to enjoy their neighbourhood without the disruption that intentional trespassers bring.
”Trespassing can be a reoccurring problem for landowners, causing nuisance and unnecessary expense to deal with the issue. These changes mean that action can be taken more quickly and efficiently to deal with the problem, giving some reassurance to landowners.”