The West Midlands Police Commissioner and MPs have demanded tougher measures to stop travellers moving into unauthorised encampments.
They said it should be easier for police and councils to force travellers to move, and people responsible for causing damage or dumping rubbish should be forced to pay the costs of cleaning up.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and 15 Labour MPs asked the Government to give more powers to the police and local councils.
They called for:
- Stronger powers to allow police to direct unauthorised encampments to transit sites across local council boundaries.
- Repeat trespass on private (including business) premises by unauthorised encampments to be made a criminal offence.
- Allow councils to work together across boundaries to ban problematic individuals from trespassing across whole regions like the West Midlands.
- The government to ensure laws are working to make fly-tippers pay for clean-up costs.
Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, said: “We need urgent changes to prevent the pattern of repeated illegal traveller encampments that affects much of our region.”
The number of 999 and 101 calls to West Midlands Police about unauthorised encampments has doubled in the last 2 years.
The Police Commissioner and MPs submitted the proposals to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which is holding a consultation into whether the law needs to be changed.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “A majority of MPs in the region have come together with me to call on the government to tighten up the law to give the police and councils the powers we need to tackle unauthorised encampments.
“This collective call is larger than anywhere else in the country.
“The current system is failing everyone that is why with Pat McFadden I have brought together MPs from across the region to tackle the issue.
“We’ve been working closely with the government who have welcomed our proposals so far.
“I am confident that by tightening up the law we can make a big difference.”
Mr McFadden said: “It should be easier for the authorities to move camps on and those responsible for causing damage and engaging in fly tipping should pay the costs.
“In this document we suggest a number of changes in response to the Government consultation. It is important that such changes are implemented with the consent of local residents and not simply imposed.”
People who signed the document sent to the Government were:
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
Pat McFadden MP
Wolverhampton South East
Adrian Bailey MP
West Bromwich West
Colleen Fletcher MP
Coventry North East
Emma Reynolds MP
Wolverhampton North East
Geoffrey Robinson MP
Coventry North West
Ian Austin MP
Jack Dromey MP
Jess Phillips MP
Jim Cunningham MP
John Spellar MP
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Richard Burden MP
Shabana Mahmood MP
Steve McCabe MP
Birmingham Selly Oak
Valerie Vaz MP