The Warwickshire Protocol 2017 – Managing unauthorised encampments
There is a consistent, county wide approach to managing Unauthorised Encampments within Warwickshire. This approach aims to ensure that the local communities and the travelling communities are treated fairly.
An unauthorised encampment is a site where Gypsy and Traveller, camp on land they do not own and do not have permission to use.
Unauthorised encampment in my area?
- If the encampment is already listed below, your report will be deleted automatically
- We do not take reports over the phone
- We cannot discuss any details regarding any specific encampment
- We cannot return calls relating to an encampment
- The Gypsy and Traveller Team does not deal in any way with reports of homelessness, rough sleepers, individuals sleepers, individuals sleeping, tents, temporary structures or any similar issue. For guidance and help, please visit https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/homelessness
Existing unauthorised encampments
The Gypsy and Traveller team manages 3 large permanent sites in Warwickshire. The management and stability of the permanent sites is the absolute priority and focus for the team.
- Stage 1: We need to identify the owner of the land. If an unauthorised encampment is on Warwickshire County Council (WCC) or Highway Land, WCC Officers will go out to visit the encampment within 5-10 working days of its arrival depending on it's wider impact, but only after Warwickshire Police has completed its full site assessment where vehicle details and occupant information is gathered.
- Stage 2: Based on the information given by the Gypsy and Traveller group, and after consultation with other agencies a decision is made as to whether the encampment should be allowed to remain for an agreed period, or whether to take legal action. Should legal action be necessary we will use either of the following legislation: S.77 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, or, Part 55 Civil Possession Rules
- Stage 3: WCC Officers will serve a legal notice directing the group to depart within the next 24hrs.
- Stage 4: Should the group fail to depart within the stipulated time period, WCC will proceed to court to obtain a court order directing the group to move.Typically, due to very busy court schedules it can take up to 2 weeks to be allocated a court date.
- Stage 5: Once a court order is obtained, the group has a further 24hrs to depart. If they fail to then move, the police and bailiffs will be called in to facilitate removal.
Clear up and cleansing responsibilities
The duty falls on the District or Borough, or private land owner and is usually started immediately on departure of any group.
Unauthorised encampments will not be tolerated where:
- any occupant is known to have previously disregarded the site rules within the county
- the encampment is creating a genuine and immediate hazard to road safety
- there is a genuine and immediate danger to public or personal safety or the environment
- the encampment is creating an intolerable impact on the employment, use or habitation of adjoining or nearby property
- the encampment is too large for its location
- the land is needed for use by the Lead Authority or the general public
- there has been advice from the Police which confirms that alleged criminal activity is taking place