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Dramatic 69 per cent decrease in unauthorised traveller encampments in Essex revealed

Crime / Thu 7th Dec 2023 at 06:52am

A DRAMATIC 69 per cent decrease in the number of unauthorised traveller encampments (UE) in Essex over the last five years was revealed at a recent conference hosted by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex.

The Unauthorised Encampment Conference is held at the end of every year and last week was held at the PFCC’s Kelvedon Park base.

The conference was attended by officers from the Essex Police Rural Engagement Team, staff from the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU), and councillors and officers from local authorities across the county.

During a joint presentation given by the Essex Police Rural Engagement Team and ECTU, attendees were informed:

  • From January 2018 to October 2018 there were 226 UE in Essex.
  • In January 2023 to October 2023 there has been 69 UE in Essex.
  • This is a 69 per cent decrease in the past five years for Unauthorised Traveller Encampments in the county.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “In Essex, we respect the rights of Gypsy, Romany and Traveller communities and their lifestyle.

“What we have got very good at, is letting communities know that in Essex, lawful behaviour is welcomed and unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated.

“We are now seeing low levels of unauthorised encampments across the county.

“This is the result of superb partnership work and support. The Essex Police Rural Engagement Team and the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit have established a clear protocol for engaging with unauthorised encampments, utilising a consistent, fair and proportionate approach while sharing information and updates.

“The figures show, this approach is working.”

The conference also heard that due to this fair and balanced approach, when unauthorised encampments do occur in Essex, there are now less local issues in regard to fires, rubbish and animals.Insp Terry Jacobs of the Essex Police Rural Engagement Team said: “My team have worked hard to build relationships with many of the Gypsy, Romany and Traveller families. We act impartially and proportionately considering the rights of all communities. 

“However, we will take action in line with legislation and guidelines where anti-social behaviour and disruption occurs. We will continue this effective partnership approach to maintain a low level of unauthorised encampments.”

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