Unauthorised encampments

Police responsibilities and dealing with antisocial behaviour

Police responsibilities to unauthorised encampments

Periodic visits to the site by police officers can be beneficial to get to know the site residents and pick up on any community tensions that may lead to more serious incidents.

The police should discuss what constitutes unacceptable conduct and they may also provide a Code of Conduct to those trespassing which they ask them to adhere to.

The police may use powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, to direct trespassers to leave land, if they consider it appropriate (although Section 61 cannot be used on encampments on the highway). These powers are discretionary and the police will consider the following questions as guidance.

  • Are communities deprived of local amenities or is there a significant impact upon the environment?
  • Is there local disruption to the economy?
  • Is there other significant disruption to the local community or environment?
  • Is there a danger to life?
  • Has there been a significant increase in local crime directly attributable to the encampment?

The presence of an encampment without any aggravating factors should not normally create an expectation that police will use eviction powers. The police are bound by the Human Rights Act and need to consider the rights of both the site residents and the wider community. It is for the police alone to decide if Section 61 is to be used.

Dealing with antisocial behaviour (ASB) on unauthorised encampments

The Safer Slough Partnership is committed to tackling ASB and recognises that this type of behaviour may occur on unauthorised encampments. Council officers will work in partnership with the police in assessing the necessary level of response for each individual case. Council officers will consider what type of action is appropriate in each case and will coordinate any action including enforcement action against those who cause ASB within the borough.