Kent PCC Matthew Scott welcomes Home Office plan to toughen legislation on unlawful encampments
Published 5 November 2019
Matthew Scott, the elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, is supporting a Government plan to criminalise trespass.
The Home Office today launched a consultation on giving police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised caravan sites. Mr Scott believes these changes would make it easier for swift and robust action to be taken.
He said: ‘I travel all over Kent speaking to residents and I know all too well the deep frustrations our local communities have with existing legislation. Currently trespassing is defined as a civil matter, meaning the law is too weak and slow to proffer true protection against illegal incursions.
'Only this week, a popular public park near Deal has had to close due to an incursion. This has a big impact on the local community. I feel it is wrong that, when this sort of things happens, it is the landowners who are responsible for enforcing the existing civil legislation and it is wrong that local taxpayers are often left footing the bill for expensive clean ups once the trespassers are moved on.
‘I have lobbied Government to criminalise illegal incursions and so am delighted with the announcement to potentially change the law. Giving local police officers the power to arrest trespassers and seize their property and vehicles would, in my view, better protect our communities.’