Home Office asked to withdraw flawed consultation

February 11, 2020

Eleven organisations supporting Gypsies and Travellers, including LGT, have urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to withdraw the current consultation on criminalising trespass and strengthening police powers to evict.

A letter to the Home Office  sent last week by the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups challenges the consultation because it fails to comply with the government’s own principles for consultation. The questions are ambiguous and misleading, say the groups, and the consultation fails to include other options apart from criminalising trespass. For example, there are no questions about making more site provision or alternatives to eviction such as negotiated stopping.

The groups also point out that, in the light of a recent legal ruling in favour of Gypsies and Travellers, the automatic criminalisation of trespass would be a breach of human rights and equality legislation. Last month, the Court of Appeal ruled against Bromley council’s “wide injunction” which banned Gypsies and Travellers from camping on open land in the borough.

The Judges concluded that “the Gypsy and Traveller community have an enshrined freedom not to stay in one place but to move from one place to another. An injunction which prevents them from stopping at all in a defined part of the UK comprises a potential breach of both the Convention and the Equality Act.”

‘The Court of Appeal judgment is very significant as it implies that criminalising trespass would be unlawful. The ruling was very timely given the current consultation, which has been criticised previously by our organisations and in the media. The judgment brings another strong consideration for the Home Office to take into account’, says Ilinca Diaconescu, LGT’s Policy Officer.

The other organisations which signed the letter are: Friends, Families and Travellers; Traveller Movement; Leeds GATE; Travelling Ahead; Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group; Irish Community Care; GATE Herts; York Travellers Trust; ACERT; Brentwood Gypsy Support Group and Liberty.

More news

Mayor-Group-pic

Achievement in a year of division

February 24, 2020

The 2019 London Gypsies and Travellers’ Annual Report is now available for download. The report details LGT’s work influencing policy, protecting the Gypsy and Traveller way of life, mapping the community’s history, supporting families and offering young people opportunities. In her introduction, LGT Chair Claire Cooper points to the divisions currently apparent in society. “It’s …

Staffetc

LGT’s commitment and values praised

February 21, 2020

London Gypsies and Travellers has been awarded a charity quality mark after an external assessment by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). The assessment concluded that LGT “has a clear planning structure, strong governance and robust values which they put into practice by ensuring that users are at the heart of everything they do”. …

Royal_Court2

Injunctions criticised in landmark ruling

January 21, 2020

A landmark Court of Appeal judgment released today has criticised the use of wide injunctions which target Gypsy and Traveller encampments. The Court of Appeal handed down a very significant judgment, dismissing an appeal by Bromley Council against the High Court’s decision to refuse the Council’s application for an injunction against “persons unknown” stopping on public …