Birmingham protocol for dealing with illegal encampments

By on 22/09/2011 in Factsheets

Below is a summary of Birmingham City Council and the West Midlands Police's Joint Protocol on managing unauthorised encampments (illegal camp sites) on public and private land within the city.

The protocol outlines what considerations should be taken into account and what powers are available to the local authority/police in seeking to repossess the land or secure trespasser eviction.

The protocol is not a specific policy on Travellers or Gypsies or any ethnic grouping, but rather a policy on dealing with all reports of persons residing as trespassers on land.

To read the protocol in full: CLICK HERE

Public Land

If the Council receives information that trespassers are residing on public land before 4pm we will endeavour to visit and inspect the site that same working day.

If a report is received after 4pm the visit will be conducted on the next working day.

The purpose of this visit to check:

      Who owns the land

      Whether occupation is legal

      Review the extent to which trespasser presence is disrupting the ability of the local community to make full use of the land

      Check upon the welfare of the encamped persons

Officers will also take into account:

      The nature, suitability and obtrusiveness of any encampment

      Number of trespassers, their behaviour and levels of any nuisance caused

      Number and validity of any public complaints

      Level of damage/potential damage their presence is causing to the site

Based upon the information gathered by the officer, and possible conversations with the landowning department and/or police, a decision will then be taken as to the appropriate enforcement route to be taken.

Where it is decided that circumstances merit immediate eviction the Council will issue a Notice to Rapidly Vacate Land - instructing trespassers to vacate within 2 hours and this will normally be followed up by the Police issuing a section 61 notice under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to secure the trespassers removal.

Where it is decided that such Police action is not appropriate or available, then the Council will issue a Notice to Vacate Land giving the trespassers 2 days (urban park or green / public open space) or 7 days (other council owned land) to vacate the site.

If the land is not vacated by the given deadline then further legal action may be taken by the local authority, including the use of bailiffs to secure removal.

Private Land

When the police/local authority receive information regarding trespassers residing on privately owned land, they will pass this information to the relevant landowner.

While securing eviction is a private matter for the landowner and the courts, the police/local authority is available to advise a landowner on their rights/options as appropriate.

ENDS

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