An unauthorised encampment is when an individual or a group of individuals with vehicles, move onto a piece of land not owned by them, and they do so with the intention of residing on that land - without the permission of the landowner.
We recognise that if you own land that is being occupied unlawfully or if you use the land such as a playing field or a carpark then this can cause distress and disruption. This can also have a significant impact on local businesses and wider communities alike.
The lead agency for responding to unauthorised encampments is your local authority and there is an agreement that they will work in partnership with police when responding to reports of encampments.
The new legislation to deal with unauthorised encampments is contained within section 60C of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. This requires the police to assess the impact of an encampment, including whether significant damage, disruption or distress has been caused or whether it is likely to be caused.
There is older legislation contained within the same Act, namely section 61 and 62 which provides similar police powers.
What is Thames Valley Police’s response to unauthorised encampments?
When an unauthorised encampment is reported, police will attend the location in order to fully assess the impact of the encampment on the landowner as well as to the wider community and local businesses. Locations will vary and may include a car-park, a farmer’s field, a public recreational ground, or a school field
It is important to note that not all unauthorised encampments are unlawful and many occur without any action being required to be taken.
However, where an encampment is unlawful Thames Valley Police will consider the appropriate course of action and that may result in giving a lawful direction to leave and facilitating the removal of the encampment.
As mentioned the response to unauthorised encampments does not fall to the police alone. It requires a local multi-agency response led by local authorities and supported by police, and it will involve liaising directly with the landowner.
All officers across Thames Valley Police who are involved in responding to unauthorised encampments have been given appropriate training in order to ensure a consistent approach.
Each report of an unauthorised encampment is fully assessed by an Inspector using legislation and guidance to consider the impact upon the land-owner and local community.
We carefully consider all reports of unauthorised encampments and take proportionate action where necessary, making sure we also take into account the rights and freedoms of all people concerned.
Reports of unauthorised encampments can be made online via the Thames Valley Police website or by calling 101.
Further information about unauthorised encampments can be found on the Thames Valley Police website or via Gov.UK .
If you have concerns about an unauthorised encampment you can call the police on 101 to make us aware of the presence of an encampment.
More information on unauthorised encampments can be found on the Gov.UK website.