Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster today called together local leaders and MP Lee Rowley to strengthen the way in which illegal encampments are tackled in Derbyshire.
The Commissioner, in response to local concerns, has created a rapid reaction taskforce to ensure a swift and joint approach to the issue.
Commissioner Angelique Foster was joined by North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley and officers from North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC) to agree terms for a dedicated taskforce. The agreement will make it easier – and far quicker – for partners to intervene in response to illegal encampments, reducing concerns in local communities.
A joint protocol agreed sets out how and when the new taskforce will be mobilised within a community once an illegal encampment has been reported.
The taskforce will enable partners to work collaboratively to solve problems and provide a clear way forward in which resources will be shared, local residents kept informed and swift, coordinated action will be implemented.
Today’s multiagency agreement followed discussions hosted previously by the Commissioner to create a pilot project to take her plans forward.
Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Illegal encampments cause significant concern among our communities in North East Derbyshire and we must respond accordingly.
“This is an issue that impacts on more than one agency and it is critical we implement a coordinated response.
“The taskforce has been developed to ensure swift action and I am pleased to see so many partner agencies, our local MP and District Leaders have welcomed the idea and signed up to it. I expect it to reduce community tension and concern quickly and effectively as soon as it is reported.”
Lee Rowley MP, added: “Local residents have a right to expect that illegal encampments are dealt with in a timely and proportionate manner and so I strongly welcome the pre-emptive work of Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster on this important issue. To have this protocol in place will, I hope, allow future issues to be dealt with in a more coordinated, and rapid, way.”
Cllr Charlotte Cupit, Deputy Leader of North-East Derbyshire District Council, commented, “I know that illegal encampments can cause significant concern to local residents. So, I welcome the new taskforce and plan we’ve put in place to clearly signpost and update everyone involved. When there are issues with illegal encampments, it’s important to be able to work together with other local councils and organisations, so I’m pleased we’re adopting this approach in North East Derbyshire.”
The key aims of the agreement include rapid action when an illegal encampment is reported, promoting collaboration between local authorities, stake holders and the Police, and agreeing a system for accurate and timely communication and updates to the public.
The Government is set to bring in a new criminal offence of intentional trespass applying to anyone aged 18 or over who resides or intends to reside on land without consent of the occupier of the land.
It will also amend the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to broaden the types of harm included within the legislation to include damage, disruption and distress.
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Photograph L-R Lisa Ingram (NEDDC Legal Team Manager; Inspector John Troup, Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster, Lee Hickin (Managing Director of NEDDC), Cllr Charlotte Cupit (Deputy Leader of NEDDC).