Dear Mr Randall,
I write you in my capacity as the geographic commander for Dorset Police across Bournemouth and Poole.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, greater partnership working is taking place between both Poole and Bournemouth Borough Councils to tackle all Traveller incursions. I am in contact with both authorities on a daily basis with regard to the most appropriate and proportionate way to deal with any incursions.
Often, civil legislation is by far the most effective way in which to cause the traveller community to move to their next destination, obtained by the Council. Section 61 legislation that you refer to, is only appropriate in certain circumstances as it does not allow for any conditions to be placed on their next destination in the same way that the Council acquired (civil) legislation does. Section 61 has been utilised this year at Baiter Park in full consultation with the Council as it was the most appropriate method. However, this simply resulted in the traveller community moving 2 miles to another location within Poole Borough.
Having conversed with the Chief Executive Officer of Poole Borough Council, we are in dialogue around the future of such incursions at Baiter. The suggestion of “target hardening” locations has been debated and is already evidenced at the Kingland Road Swimming Pool site.
The issue of traveller Incursions is one that is taken seriously, however when there appears to be a lack of immediate action to the public, this is due to the time it takes for various pieces of legalisation to be invoked. This is the legislation that takes more time to acquire through the legal process as it carries more conditions and weight, unlike Section 61 which is an immediate tool with very limiting constraints.
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Message: Dear Mr Underhill, I write this to you in my capacity of Chair of Parkstone Bay Association, covering Baiter Park and Whitecliff areas of Poole. You are obviously aware that there have been regular incursions of ‘travellers’ into Poole and at Baiter Park we have suffered three such incursions to date this year at Baiter. Not only do ‘travellers’ make illegal trespass but they also cause considerable damage and put residents’/visitors safety at significant risk by driving cars/ vans at excessive speed across the grassed area and along the promenade, putting pedestrians’ lives at risk. The ‘travellers’ have no recognition of reasonable behaviour and it is particularly disappointing to see police making very cursory visits to the site. They must have witnessed anti-social behaviour as on several occasions I have witnessed the dangerous driving by ‘travellers’ whilst there has been a police presence. It is galling also to witness police officers sitting in their cars whilst this anti-social behaviour takes place, and also using a mobile phone to text whilst this behaviour carries on directly in sight. I have personally made strong representations to council officers councillors and Daily Echo. However, Poole council has requested that police invoke Section 61, but I understand this has been refused, to the disappointment of the council. Can you please explain why Section 61 has been refused, given the high level of anti-social and threatening behaviour emanated by the ‘travellers’? It appears there is little or any agreement between the police and Poole council and it plays into the hands of those who wish to impact negatively on residents who live very close to this behaviour