Working in partnership to respond consistently and robustly to anti-social unauthorised encampments
Thanks to great partnership working and the efforts of Essex Police’s rural engagement team, numbers of unauthorised encampments have fallen in Essex by more than 70 per cent since 2018.
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, invited more than 30 different colleagues from Essex Police and local authorities to a round table discussion to refresh the protocols around dealing with unauthorised encampments and share learning ahead of the Spring/Summer season.
At the meeting, Essex Police’s Rural Engagement Team officers, demonstrated how they approach dealing with unauthorised encampments resulting in incidents in Essex dropping from 228 in 2018 to just 60 in 2022 – a reduction of 74 per cent.
Roger said: “Over the last six years we have worked hard with rural communities and councils to provide a consistent and robust response to anti-social unauthorised encampments.
“In 2017 we developed the first shared protocol to manage and respond quickly to UEs, and this was a game changer for us as well as securing funding to establish the Essex Police Rural Engagement Team.”
As a result of the success of the Rural Engagement Team, Roger secured more funding in 2019 to double the size of the team.
Roger added: “It’s important to remember many members of the traveller community visit Essex and do not carry out any criminal activity or anti-social behaviour. Establishing and maintaining strong positive relationships with this community has worked well in recent years.
“Fortunately, the Rural Engagement Team is high functioning and doing incredible work with traveller communities. They take a consistent and fair approach and consider the rights of all communities in Essex.
“Following this session, we will look at a refreshed protocol and continue conversations and links to support each other.”
Chief Inspector Terry Balding from Essex Police said: “I am incredibly proud of the work the Rural Engagement Team undertake especially involving unauthorised encampments. The team strive to treat all communities within Essex with respect and support all except those who behave in a negative way. I am grateful to the Traveller Movement for their feedback and support and to members of the public who have reported encampments which have acted in an inappropriate manner.”