William Wragg MP has responded to a Public consultation recommending Government considers adopting ‘Irish Option’
Following debates in the House of Commons and Westminster Hall last October, earlier this year the Government launched a public consultation into the effectiveness of powers to prevent unauthorised encampments and developments. The consultation considers Police and Council powers, court processes, Government guidance, the provision of legal traveller sites and their impact on settled communities.
William Wragg MP, Member of Parliament for Hazel Grove, has made a formal submission detailing the unacceptable impact of the actions of some in the traveller community, highlighting deficiencies in the current powers at the authorities’ disposal to solve these problems, and suggesting improvements.
In the submission, William urged the Government to consider bringing in the so-called ‘Irish Option’ of making acts of deliberate trespass a criminal offence. This power, used with due discretion by the Police, would provide a timely method of dealing with unauthorised encampments. Currently, it can take several days before local authorities and the Police put an end to unauthorised encampments.
“I know that that the majority of travellers are law-abiding and do not cause any problems. However, a determined minority appear to consider themselves above the law. At one level, this manifests itself in anti-social behaviour but also sometimes crosses into criminal damage, private and public nuisance and the loss of valued enjoyment of public open spaces.
"This issue is affecting communities across Stockport and Greater Manchester including one recent illegal encampment in my own constituency, on Melford Road, Hazel Grove
"The Government needs to better understand how our residents’ lives can be severely inconvenienced by those travellers who consider themselves above the law, and address the shortcomings in the current range of powers available to the Police and local authorities. I look forward to the Government’s response to the consultation, and hope they will take these recommendations further.”
The call to pursue making acts of deliberate trespass a criminal offence has been echoed by a number of other MPs, and a joint letter was sent by to Local Government Secretary, James Brokenshire, and the Prime Minister last week. The letter was signed by over 60 MPs including William.
You can read William's full submission to the consultation on unauthorised traveller encampments below.