Advice, guidance and templates

Page contents

  1. Definitions
  2. Partnership protocols
  3. Be informed
  4. Know the law 
  5. Negotiation
  6. Informing your community
  7. Taking control of your media
  8. Informing others
  9. Useful links 
  10. FAQs

Definitions

Unauthorised encampments

“Encampments of caravans and/or other vehicles on land without the landowner or occupier’s consent and constituting trespass”

The Government defines Unauthorised Encampments as “encampments of caravans and/or other vehicles on land without the landowner or occupier’s consent and constituting trespass”.

Unauthorised Encampments fall into 2 main categories:

  • those on land owned by local authorities (such as highway, schools, public parks and carparks)
  • those on privately owned land.

The key point to take from this definition is that an encampment is not ‘Unauthorised’ until the Landowner has made it clear to the group that their consent to remain on the land has not been granted.

The first step in managing the arrival of an encampment is for the landowner to speak with the group and ascertain whether they will give consent for the group to remain

When we think of an encampment we often think of a large number of caravans. However, some encampments can be just one caravan and one car owned by one small family.

It is important to remember that at present trespass is a civil offence. Not a criminal offence.  

Sometimes unauthorised encampment is incorrectly described as ‘illegal’. This is an outdated and inaccurate term.

Trespass only becomes illegal if the trespassers refuse to comply with a court or police order to leave.

There is an agreement between local authorities, police and NHS trusts to determine the process for managing an unauthorised encampment. This is called the Partnership Protocol

Unauthorised developments

Unauthorised developments should not be confused with unauthorised encampments. People parking caravans on their own land without planning permission are not unauthorised encampments.  

In law a person cannot trespass on their own land.

These situations are termed ‘Unauthorised Developments’ and are always dealt with through the  enforcement of planning legislation by the Local Planning Authority within the relevant District Council. Cambridgeshire County Council or the Police are not involved in these cases.

Permanent sites

There are 10 Permanent Council run Traveller sites in Cambridgeshire.

Before the enactment of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (CJPOA), local authorities had a statutory duty to provide caravan sites for Gypsies and Travellers under the Caravan Sites Act 1968. However, the CJPOA removed that duty and gave local authorities and the police powers to evict Gypsies and Travellers from unauthorised sites. The current policy towards Gypsies and Travellers caravan sites is found in the Circular 1/94 Gypsy Sites and Planning (Circular 1/94), which favours private over public site provision. Gypsies and Travellers have been encouraged to purchase land themselves and apply to legitimise their own sites through the planning system.

Circular 1/94 suggests that local planning authorities should assess the need for Gypsies and Travellers caravan sites in their administrative areas and identify locations where the land use requirements of Gypsies and Travellers can be met. If suitable locations cannot be found, then the local authority sets out clear and realistic criteria for establishing sites. For more information please visit our accommodation needs assessment webpage. 

Transit sites

A transit site is a permanent facility on which stopping is only allowed for short periods ranging from 28 days to 3 months. Some transit sites have individual plots of tarmac hard standing and a utility shed with bathroom and toilet facilities.  Others might be even more basic but in the case of a transit site, facilities remain in situ permanently. Cambridgeshire does not currently have any transit site facilities.

This toolkit focusses specifically on unauthorised encampments. For information on the other types of developments listed above please visit our Gypsy and Traveller Development Plan Document (DPD)

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The Partnership protocol

 “It is often impossible to predict just where and when an unauthorised encampment will occur. However, a purely reactive response to encampments as they arise is likely to be both inefficient and ineffective”

The Partnership protocol document sets out a joint protocol between the local authorities and statutory agencies for managing unauthorised encampments across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The parties to the Protocol are: -

  • Peterborough City Council
  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • South Cambridgeshire District Council
  • East Cambridgeshire District Council
  • Huntingdon District Council
  • Fenland District Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Each partner agency has specific responsibilities in relation to the arrival of an unauthorised encampments which are described within this webpage.

The aim of this protocol is to:

  • Manage public and partnership expectations recognising the statutory responsibilities of both the police and local authorities
  • Proportionately respond to reports of unauthorised encampments
  • Promote the safety and wellbeing of all communities involved and affected by unauthorised encampments
  • Ensure consistency of delivery between Cambridgeshire Constabulary and partner agencies
  • Balance the needs and rights of all communities with ethical decision making while upholding the Public Sector Equality Duty and Equality Act 2010
  • Deliver a consistent response which is non-discriminatory, has a legitimate aim and is compliant with the Human Rights Act 1998.

The guiding principles of this protocol underpin the ethos of this toolkit

Principles

2.1 The local authority has primacy for action relating to unauthorised encampments on any council land, including land classed as ‘primary land’.

2.2 When considering any unauthorised encampment, a balance must be maintained between the rights of those encamped and the rights of landowners and the settled community.

2.3 Peaceful, non-confrontational occupation of land will normally be dealt with by the local authority as landowners or by other private landowners using powers available to them to regain possession of the land.

2.4 Police officers and staff must act in a neutral, objective and open way, ensuring that each encampment is considered on an individual basis. It is acknowledged that the majority of people on unauthorised encampments are law abiding, with a minority who may take part in criminal or antisocial behaviour. It is generally the behaviour of this minority that causes increased community tension.

2.5 Local authorities and the police respect the right of people to pursue different lifestyles and to live in a style different from that of the wider community but individuals or groups pursuing different lifestyles are required to act lawfully in the same way as that expected or applied to the wider community.

What does what? When and why? 

The landowner is responsible for negotiating and deciding on when to take action.

If you are a private landowner in need of advice and guidance visit our Gypsy and Traveller illegal encampment advice page.

The lead role in managing Unauthorised Encampments on public land is normally the local Authority. However, consideration of the use of police powers under Section 61 or 62 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 should be given where:

This could include, for example, forming an encampment on any part of recreational ground, public park, school field, village green, or depriving the public use of car parks. The fact that other sections of the community are being deprived of the amenities must be evident before action is taken.

Local disruption of the economy would include forming an encampment on a shopping centre or car park, or in an industrial estate, if it disrupts workers or customers, or agricultural land, if this results in the loss of use of the land for its normal purpose. It would also include where there is other significant disruption to the local community or environment such as where other behaviour, which is directly related to those present at an encampment, is so significant that a prompt eviction by police becomes necessary.

An example of this might be an encampment adjacent to a motorway, where there could be a danger of children or animals straying onto the carriageway.

This might include where a group of trespassers have persistently displayed anti-social behaviour at previous sites and it is reasonably believed that such behaviour will be displayed at this newly established site. This reasoning will take on greater emphasis if the land occupied is privately owned, as the landowner will be responsible for the cleansing and repair of their property.

 

The mere presence of an encampment without any aggravating factors should not normally create an expectation that police will use eviction powers.

This should be communicated to the public, landowners, local authorities, and other agencies. For information on how to manage this communication please see “Preparing your community”

The Decision-Making process for eviction is not simple

Repeated eviction has a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and educational opportunities for those living on the roadside.

If a decision is made to use police powers to evict then the rationale for the decision should be clearly set out and recorded by the partners.

For more information on the health and education outcomes for GRT communities and the reasons why GRT communities travel Cultural awareness training is available

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Be informed

Know your communities

How much do you actually know about Travelling communities?

Do you know who you have in your local settled community? The majority of Gypsy and Roma Traveller community live in the settled community.

Could you benefit from additional cultural awareness training? If so, the training is currently being rolled out free of charge to South Cambs residents through the Community Safety Partnership until January 2022. For more information visit our Cultural Awareness Training webpage.

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Know the law

Hate Crime

What is a hate crime?

Hate crimes and incidents could be: 

  • Name calling
  • Hitting and punching,
  • Refusal to serve you or provide a service (in a pub, or shop for example)
  • Being made fun of
  • Bullying
  • Being frightened by someone
  • Having your things stolen or damaged 

Hate crimes can happen because of your: 

race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability - including learning disability - and mental health

How can I report a hate crime? 

You can report a hate crime directly to the police by;

  • visiting your local station,
  • calling 101 in a non-emergency
  • always call 999 in an emergency. 

Reporting online

If you want to make a report online, you can use the True Vision online reporting form, which will be delivered to your local Police Service. 

You can also report a hate crime that has happened to someone else, for example a friend or family member, or something that you have seen online or on social media. 

What happens if I report a hate crime to the Police?

The Police and other criminal justice agencies consider all hate crime to be very serious, including racist and religious hate crime. When a case is prosecuted, the courts can impose a stronger sentence under powers from the Criminal Justice Act 2003. This reflects the priority placed on these crimes. The Police have performance targets and measures in place to ensure the service they offer is of the highest standard.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the organisation that takes cases through the court system. They have produced guidance on Racist and Religious Hate Crime that is available on the 'Prosecuting Hate Crimes'.

For more information on Hate Crime visit True Vision's website.

Unauthorised Encampment Law

The legal powers surrounding unauthorised encampments are not straightforward in their application, because there are a number of different statutory powers available to local authorities and the police depending on a variety of circumstances.

In addition to this the legislation is made up for three different types of law

  • Common law – can be used by private landowners
  • Civil law – can be used by statutory bodies
  • Criminal law – can be used by police

An overview of the current legislation surrounding unauthorised encampments can be found here.

However, the application of the Law is not simply a case of applying the relevant law and evicting. There are several other considerations that the partnership must take into account when deciding on whether or not to enforce because an eviction can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

Repeated evictions in quick succession prevent encampment residents from accessing vital services such as healthcare and education resulting in increased levels of long-term health conditions and decreased educational attainment outcomes for the children.

If you have completed the cultural awareness training you will have covered the effects of repeated eviction on the physical and mental health of the GRT community and you will also have covered the significant impact on children’s educational opportunities as well. When deciding whether to move groups on, there are many considerations to take into account aside from the legislation.

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Negotiation

The key for finding amicable solutions for all involved is effective communication from the outset.

Negotiated stopping involves the land owner (including the Local Authority) making an agreement with those on an unauthorised encampment. 

The terms of the agreement can vary depending on the situation but will usually include matters such as correct waste disposal and other things which can be described as ‘neighbourly’.  The code of conduct below can form the basis of your negotiations.

Provision and use of services, such as portaloos and household waste disposal, will often form part of the agreement.

The agreed duration of stay can be from 2 weeks to several months but tend to be around 28 days at an agreed negotiated stopping site.

Negotiated Stopping locations are NOT transit sites (28 days – 3 months)

Having a negotiated agreement in place does not preclude the authority seeking to secure the land by means of Sec 77 CJPOA for example.  Nevertheless, a magistrate may approve a possession order against an individual or family, where behaviour has been seen to breach the agreement, rather than a whole group.

An example of the Negotiated Stopping Agreement template can be provided by request by emailing Communitysafety@scambs.gov.uk.

However, the below code of conduct can form the basis of your negotiations:

Code of conduct

To ensure those members of both the settled and Travelling communities can live together in a peaceful and unprejudiced way we request your group comply with this Code of Conduct.

We expect you to treat the land you have occupied with respect, and that you respect the rights and freedoms of other people who also wish to use the area.

Behaviour that may result in your eviction from a site includes the following:

  • Camping upon any land designated as a public amenity, such as parks, recreation areas, school fields and similar locations (not an exhaustive list).
  • Interfering with the rights and freedoms of other members of the public, including interrupting the operation of legitimate businesses.
  • Forcing entry to land, by causing damage to any fixtures, fittings or landscaping (including planted areas). This includes digging away of earthwork defences, which have been placed at landowner’s expense to prevent trespass.
  • Causing any other damage to the land itself, or property on it. Particular care should be taken not to cause damage to those features provided as public amenities.
  • Driving vehicles along any footpath, or other highway not specifically designed for road vehicles. This practice is not only unlawful but is also highly dangerous.
  • Parking vehicles or caravans on any road, footpath or other highway that causes an obstruction to other people wanting to pass by. This includes parking immediately next to footpaths.
  • Dumping or tipping rubbish, waste materials or trade waste such as tree cuttings, rubble, etc. It is your responsibility to keep the site clean and tidy. Council Traveller Liaison Officers can direct you to Civic Amenity Sites (Council tips) where you will be able to pay to dispose of trade waste.
  • Use of the area as a toilet. You must not deposit or leave human waste openly in public areas.
  • Abuse, intimidation or harassment of any person who is lawfully using the area.
  • Excessive noise or other forms of anti-social behaviour.
  • Animals that are not kept under control or that attack persons lawfully on the land, or nearby.
  • Interference with electrical, water or gas supplies. Any person(s) found abstracting electricity or wasting quantities of water may be subject of criminal proceedings.

These codes are the same standards of behaviour that are expected of the settled community. The police are committed to ensuring that all policing issues that affect you are balanced, however behaviour that is deemed unacceptable within society will not be tolerated.

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Informing your community

Before the encampment arrives

  • Open the lines of communication around encampments in a positive manner
  • Encourage local stakeholders to undertake the Cultural Awareness Training
  • Consider ways in which the Microgrant can be used to promote inclusion within your community
  • Understand who you have in your community
  • Consider holding local events to raise awareness of GRT culture
  • Ensure that the local Facebook administrators are fully aware of your stance on messaging. Promote the training locally on social media. This may spark some reaction however it will give you an opportunity to clearly state your stance and tackle any inappropriate behaviour and comments in advance of an encampment arriving
  • Read the document below entitled “Taking control of your media
  • Develop your own action plan for what you would do should an encampment arrive

When an encampment arrives

  • Put your plan into action
  • Contact key stakeholders
  • Make a clear stance on social media with an early positive message
  • Visit the encampment and begin the negotiation using the Negotiated stopping agreement template as a guide. You may not reach the point of getting a signature, please remember that levels of illiteracy within the GRT community are often higher than in the non- GRT community, nevertheless it is a good starting point for opening the discussion.
  • Offer the encampment the document ‘Guidance and advice for Gypsies and Travellers

Example social media post: 

“We are aware of the arrival of an encampment on the village green. We have spoken to the residents today and agreed with the family that they can remain in situ for the next 3 weeks to allow members of the group to access vital education and health services. We have welcomed the family to the village and will keep you updated should there be any changes to the timescales. We do not envisage the encampment impacting on any local planned activities.”

At regular and appropriate intervals during the encampment

  • Provide your community with updates
  • Keep updates positive and inclusive
  • Seek to engage the encampment and ask them if they have any messages they would like to put out to the community

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Taking control of your media

Using Positive Language

As with any cross-cultural communications, whether online or otherwise, the use of positive, non-discriminative language is vitally important if you want to make the most of any interaction. Irish Travellers and English Gypsies are both defined ethnicities with their own heritage, culture, traditions, values and language. By trying to learn about our differences you will be in a better position to engage in positive interactions and better working partnerships.

The terms Traveller and Gypsy are not derogative unless used in a negative context and you should not be afraid to use them as a positive way of addressing the issues. If you are ever in any doubt of what term is most appropriate just ask.

It should be clearly noted that everyone is an individual and this advice is generalised advice. It is imperative that each person you interact with you treat as an individual.

If in doubt … ask don’t assume.

Please do not use terms or phrases other than Traveller, Roma or Gypsy. Many other commonly used terms in use are racially offensive.

The information below is written by Willingham Village Facebook administrators as advice for other communities.

It was written to provide learning from their experiences of what was a very testing time within the village and local area, when an unauthorised encampment arrived in the village.

The encampment attracted national press coverage sending ripples of concern throughout both the settled non-Traveller community but also within the settled Traveller community.

By taking control of their social media, Willingham community was able to bring the village and surrounding areas together and quell community concerns.

Go public

Many communities such as villages prefer to operate ‘a closed group’ on Facebook (FB), which means only those people with the right postcode can join the group and see posts.  Not only does this mean neighbouring communities are unable to see local community safety news, but posts sharing vital information simply circulate between those members of the closed group.  One of the reasons why communities choose closed group pages is the community effectively produces a constant stream of content, which means it only needs one or two people to acts as moderators, to remind followers of the rules and ensure there are no obscene, offensive or defamatory posts/comments. Controlling and prioritising content can be difficult in these circumstances. 

Managing a public FB page is like running an online magazine for the community, where a dedicated team of admins and editors decide what to post and when (including reshared posts from other FB pages). The admin team should remain anonymous to the wider public due to the nature and range of topics posted on the page. 

People power

The more people following/liking your FB page the better.  There’s no quick way to gain followers, but producing high quality content will help. Once you have a good-sized following, your ability to reach more people increases as people interact with the page and share posts.  Followers should always be encouraged to share community safety related posts. 

Community safety admin(s)

All the members of a FB page admin team are generalists who are able to communicate on a range of topics.  However, to take the productivity of your FB page to the next level, you need at least one admin dedicated person to community safety matters.  This person would not only post about crime updates and useful crime prevention advice, but communicates directly with statutory agency representatives, community members and local organisations, such as Neighbourhood Watch.  For example, a community safety admin may obtain important information, including images or CCTV from community members, which they would then forward on to the police.  A dedicated community safety admin reads the local and national news, receives neighbourhood alerts, attends relevant meetings, follows all relevant policing and crime, prevention and community safety FB pages, and assesses which posts to share with the community.

Keep it simple 

It’s important that posts are written in plain English and are kept concise to ensure you get your message across.  Keep sentences short, use active verbs, use ‘you’ and ‘we’, don’t be afraid to give instructions and use lists where appropriate.  When posting about an incident:

  • Stick to the facts by providing all relevant details (description, time, place, crime number).
  • Provide details about how to report any information (police, Crimestoppers).
  • Include a firm statement such as “this community will not tolerate discrimination”.
  • Avoid giving an opinion, instead leave this to the public in the comments section (which should be moderated for sexist, racist or offensive comments).

Image is everything 

Social media is very visual so a picture tells a thousand words. Try to attach a relevant image to each post, you want to catch people's attention as they are scrolling through their news feed.  However please be mindful of people’s private lives.

#Tags

These days there’s a dozen hashtags attached to everything, but they can be useful tools for providing cohesion and being able to quickly locate a number of posts.  For example, during a sustained period of anti-social behaviour, our community safety admin used the hashtag #WillinghamFightsBack.  While we can’t be sure how many people clicked on it, it made it very easy for the admin team to find posts and reshare them as needed.  

Be diplomatic

Sharing content on a FB page that may be followed by the victims of crime, as well as the perpetrators, requires a degree of diplomacy.  This is especially true when dealing with incidents involving young people. Most appropriate message to communicate to young adults and their parents would be  an appeal to parents to make their children aware of the law, as well as the potential consequences. 

Report report repeat

One of the biggest obstacles a community safety Admin may have to overcome is a general loss of faith in the police and partner agencies. This may be related to a perceived lack of presence or long-term issues that appear to go unresolved. Regardless of the reasons, this attitude can lead to people failing to report incidents to the authorities, particularly issues that are perceived to be of lower importance, such as anti-social behaviour and vandalism. The community should be actively encouraged to report all matters to the relevant authorities. The importance of reporting can be expressed by explaining that reporting data enables authorities to better understand the issues facing a community and direct resources appropriately.

Following advice from the police on the most effective means of reporting incidents, Willingham Village FB team “pinned” a post to the top of the FB page explaining how to report an incident to the police online or by telephone – the same information was also included in every crime post.  More recently, the admin team are using FB’s ‘Our Story Section’ to maintain a list of important contacts and links for the community, including live links to report crime.  The overall aim should be to make reporting matters as easy as possible.

Legwork

Occasionally, it is not enough being a keyboard warrior, you have to venture out and assess the situation, record the damage, collate information in order to produce high quality, factual content.  If you have an active Neighbourhood Watch you can draw on their resources. When Willingham was experiencing a high level of anti-social behaviour and vandalism, our crime Admin personally walked around the village photographing damaged cars, walls etc. They always tried to get permission from the victim before using an image publicly; no one ever refused permission.  This information was then shared across a wide variety of platforms, including the FB page, online news organisations, and in emails to local and national Government representatives. 

collaboration

A community Facebook page should have its roots firmly in the community, operating independently from civic local authorities, such as the Parish Council. This enables the FB page to maintain impartiality, whilst supporting and promoting important community initiatives and events.  For example, when the Parish Council decided to hold a public meeting with Policing South Cambridgeshire and the District council, FB admins attended and wrote a summary of points raised during the meeting so those who weren’t able to attend the meeting would feel informed and engaged.  Momentum can be maintained through regular communications and updates.

The beat online

Policing South Cambridgeshire now have a well-developed social media presence, which makes sharing posts to the page much easier.  It means even if a few people actually see a police car or meet a PCSO on the street, everyone feels reassured that there’s a police presence in the community.  It’s important to try to balance negative crime news with good news stories where possible, so a crime Admin would bear this in mind when sharing posts.

Private messages

Most people who have information on crimes or concerns don’t wish to go public on a community page, but they will engage in private conversations with the FB admins. The belief that it is safe to communicate with an anonymous admin team is vital.  Folk generally trust Willingham Village FB page, because it was established in 2014is run in a professional way and is strong on community safety matters.  Always remind those who contact a FB page to also report the incident to the police. 

Real time updates

Once someone in the community feels confident, they can write a private message to the FB page about an incident and remain anonymous, they will typically continue to communicate on such matters.  The nature of real time crime messages can range from a wish to alert you to the fact their house was burgled or the fact a group of youths have been seen on a particular street egging a house. 

  • It’s important to be sympathetic, after all, it’s someone in your community. A friendly, helpful voice, albeit an anonymous one, can provide some comfort.  Knowing a community page takes community safety seriously can offer a sense of togetherness and empowerment.
  • Posting about an incident which has recently occurred is extremely powerful, as it shows how efficiently the page is managed and how well it is plugged into the community.
  • Only FB admins are able to see how many people a post has reached, but by sharing some stats in a comment, a community page can showcase its ability to reach many people; for example, “This post reached over 1,500 people in less than a day”.

Know your limits 

Social media is limited to those who have access to the internet.  If you have a public page, even those without a FB account can view posts; however, it is unlikely they will visit the page on a regular basis.  The social group most likely to be without the Internet or Facebook is the elderly, therefore, it remains vital to remind folk to look out for the elderly and vulnerable in the community, as well as share important safety information with neighbours. 

Social media is increasingly a vital tool in the fight against crime in our communities, but it is only successful when it works in unison with traditional methods that have a community focus, newsletters/magazines, face-to-face meetings and good neighbourly relations.

For more information 

Willingham Village FB Page

Population of Willingham during 2011 census: 4,015

Number of people following the FB Page: 2,579

Informing others

Know your partners

Gypsy and Traveller Health team Cambridgeshire County Council's logo

 

  • Act as holistic key worker to link Gypsy Travellers into mainstream health services and enable access to appropriate health services.
  • Enable mainstream health services to access Gypsy Travellers in an appropriate way
  • Act as expert resource to county council and partner organisations re Gypsy Traveller health issues.
  • Provide preventative health advice, services and monitoring in a culturally acceptable way.
  • Adult education project officer to enable Gypsy Travellers to access education and enhance life prospects and their ability to contribute to society and achieve economic wellbeing. Enabling Gypsy & Travellers to be independent in their health care.
  • Coordinating literacy project to achieve above wider health outcomes.
  • Advocacy worker to provide advocacy support to Gypsy Travellers around issues of housing, benefits, debt etc. and any other areas that require advocacy support to prevent detrimental impact on the clients’ health.

Traveller and Liaison Officer role  South Cambridgeshire District Council's logo

  • Liaison for the whole of the district, working with housed G and T, private and local authority sites
  • Working with multi agency staff to provide support, advice and safe accommodation
  • Manage every aspect of local authority sites, including anything from sewage and drainage to evictions and rent collection
  • Assists external agencies on to private sites for projects for example Anglian Water or the Environment Agency
  • Work closely with housing advice, homelessness team, planning, enforcement, revenues and environmental health
  • Carry out a lot of work that promotes financial independence and better money management as well as welfare and wellbeing for example domestic abuse victims or safeguarding
  • Stephanie.kuch@scambs.gov.uk

Stakeholders

The tables below show some useful contacts.

Partnership

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Stakeholder

Contact details

Fenland District Council

01354 654321

Huntingdonshire District Council

01480 388388

South Cambs District Council

01954 261445

East Cambs District Council

01353 665555

Cambridge City Council

01223 457000

Cambridgeshire County Council

0345 0455200

Cambridgeshire Police

101

Welfare

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Stakeholder

Contact details

Traveller Nurse – Shaynie Larwood Smith

Shaynie.larwood@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Project Development officer – Rose Wilson

Rose.wilson@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Advocacy worker – Kelly Buckley

Kelly.Buckley@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Health Community development officers – Terri Lee Hawkins

Terri-lee.hawkins@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

SCDC Traveller Liaison Officer – Stevie Kuch

Stephanie.kuch@scambs.gov.uk

County Council Enforcement officer – George Hay

George.Hay@Cambridgeshire.gov.uk

 

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Useful links

FAQs

A ‘Nomadic’, ‘Gypsy’ or ‘Traveller’ way of life is protected by law.  One young Traveller woman we spoke to explained “imagine you’d lived in house all your life and you were suddenly forced to live on the road, that’s what it like for Gypsy & Traveller people the other way around”. For more information please undertake the Cultural Awareness Training. There is also a national housing shortage already – there are simply not enough affordable homes for everyone.

Most holiday campsites will not allow Gypsy & Traveller people to stay, there are many restrictions not conducive to a Gypsy way of life plus the cost of staying on a holiday site is prohibitively expensive (especially if you have a caravan for Mum & Dad and ones for the children, boys and girls separately).

If the logic is applied that you are only allowed services in places where you pay local taxes - then a holiday maker or businessperson would not be allowed to dispose of rubbish when they go on holiday or travel for work!  Everyone, at one time or another, uses services provided in an area they don't pay taxes in.   

For many Gypsy and Travellers, a settled life is not problematic but for some a nomadic way of life is a crucial part of their historical identity, but a better provision of services is offered through a Negotiated Stopping Policy which will improve lives for all.

This question implies that Travellers turning up is, by definition, a problem. An unauthorised encampment does not mean an illegal encampment. Unauthorised just means no permission has been given yet, not that the encampment is illegal.

  • Contact the local landowner to ascertain if permission has been granted
  • Make enquiries direct with the group, introduce yourselves and ascertain how long they plan to stay and begin the negotiation early.
  • Reach out to the community leaders / parish council and keep them informed of your contact.
  • Contact your local authority to make them aware if you believe an infraction is taking place. They will follow the procedure set out in the Partnership Protocol.

Contact your local police in the same as you would for any other anti-social behaviour – keeping in mind that the anti-social behaviour may only be coming from one member of the group – and in that case only the perpetrator should be punished or penalised not the whole group.

Open the dialogue with the group and ask them to keep the animals under control. If the anti-social behaviour continues contact your local authority or police.

Contact your local Traveller Liaison officers to offer your assistance and then seek to roll out the cultural awareness sessions locally. Communication and respect on both sides is key to easing community tensions. Education is key - please encourage others to undertake the cultural awareness training.

This depends on the landowner. If you wish to know how long the group have negotiated to remain the landowner should be able to provide this information.

There are lots of organisations who are working to improve the lives of Gypsy and Traveller people and they can be found in the Get Advice section of the Travellers’ Times website along with lots of other information, films, resources, positive news stories and features – and you could subscribe to the bi-annual magazine and e-newsletter for free too. 

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