Ian Austin is urging the government to give local councils and police forces more powers to tackle illegal encampments set up by travellers.
Last summer, several parks and community facilities in residential areas in Dudley were used by travellers.
The Dudley North MP took part in a Parliamentary debate on travellers yesterday (October 9th) to say it's completely unacceptable that residents and their kids have been unable to use community facilities and parks, and that local councils are left with huge bills to clear the sites afterwards.
Austin called on the government to
- change the law so that the police could direct groups to transit sites in neighbouring boroughs
- bring in tougher rules to protect private landowners from being repeat victims of unauthorised encampments,
- make available sanctions for groups that return to the same piece of land
- reduce time taken for evictions
- Enable injunctions to be available to cover larger areas than the specific individual site covered at the moment.
Austin asked Alok Sharma, the Communities and Local Government Minister, to meet the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, and West Midlands MPs to discuss the impact of these issues in the region.
Ian Austin said:
“It is my job to speak up for people in Dudley who have been affected by these camps.
“What people in Dudley have had to put up with this summer, as in previous years, is completely and utterly unacceptable, and I want tougher and swifter action to deal with them, as well as measures that prevent travellers getting on to local parks and community facilities in the first place.
“I also want the government to look at the proposals of David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner who has done a huge amount of work on these issues.”