Jonothan Moss, principal lawyer in the dispute resolution team, was pleased to see the Government has launched a consultation on unauthorised encampments this week, with a view to increasing the powers available to the police.
The Government also plan to introduce new criminal offences where encampments cause serious disruption or damage.
Jonothan has spent the last five months investigating and lobbying the unfairness to landowners on the current way this issue is being dealt with by the police. He sees the ineffectiveness as being partly due to a police resource issue.
After meeting with senior police officers and investigating how certain parts of the country are introducing new protocols to deal with this most challenging and growing issue, Jonothan believes that it is simply unjust for the burden of removal of encampments to be left to innocent landowners in terms of cost and time.
Jonothan spent time holding the police to account and persuading them to properly utilise the powers that were given to them in 1994. On many occasions when the police have been challenged on a sound legal basis for a refusal to evict under the powers available to them, they have changed their mind and swiftly evicted the Encampment, saving the landowners time, money and stress.
Jonothan comments: “With the number of unlawful encampments increasing, this review by the Government is very timely. If you are faced with an Encampment issue and the police say the only option is to use civil proceedings, I recommend not accepting this as the sole route to eviction.”