Roma and Traveller communities face some of the greatest inequalities in our society. Earlier this year, the Women and Equalities Committee published a damning report pointing to the collective failures of successive governments to tackle these inequalities.
This is paired with repeated failures to invest in site provision for authorised encampments, furthering marginalisation.
We’re alarmed at steps that will not only entrench this position in society, but criminalise it.
A Home Office proposal to ramp up police powers regarding trespass would have a devastating impact.
The police already have ample powers to deal with the issues the Home Office claims to be concerned about, such as property damage, noise and littering. It also neglects to address the main cause of unauthorised encampments – the government’s failure to identify land for sites and stopping. Rather than tackle endemic social inequalities, the government is looking to criminalise activities caused by its own lack of action.
Just as alarming, the language used by the Home Office at the launch of a consultation on these powers was divisive and dehumanising, and has no place in our society.