TOUGHER powers to tackle unauthorised traveller encampments have been welcomed in Warwickshire.
The government is proposing new powers to make it easier for police to remove travellers from land.
It comes after months of cat and mouse games which has seen travellers moving between sites in Leamington, Warwick and Stratford.
The draft measures by Home Secretary Sajid Javid have been welcomed by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Seccombe.
The plans would also make it a criminal offence instead of a civil offence to set up the camps, and lower the number of vehicles needed to be involved in an illegal camp before police can act from six toT two.
Mr Seccombe said: “There is no doubt unauthorised traveller encampments continue to cause considerable concern and disruption here in Warwickshire.
“The county continues to experience regular encampments at considerable cost to local taxpayers, which the police and local authorities already work hard to deal with, within the constraints of the existing legislation.
“Providing additional powers to move on encampments from the roadside and lowering the number of vehicles needing to be involved in an illegal camp before police can act will help broaden the toolkit that police and local authorities have at their disposal to effectively manage encampments.
“At the moment, the authorities are often involved in a game of cat-and-mouse as encampments are moved from one part of the county to another, often returning to the same sites on a continual basis.
“Extending the exclusion period from three months to a year may make this easier for the authorities to manage encampments in a justified, proportionate way which better suits each individual situation.”