ADUR is no longer a ‘soft touch’ for travellers thanks to new police powers, a councillor has claimed.
Adur District Council’s cabinet member for health and well-being David Simmons expressed his sentiments to the Herald this week over new police powers which allow a quicker response when travellers illegally occupy land.
“It is likely that as word gets around the traveller community that such incursions will not be tolerated... less will see Adur as a soft touch and move elsewhere.”Councillor David Simmons
Powers given to Sussex Police now allow them to move travellers to the new transit site just outside Chichester.
Mr Simmons’s comments come in the wake of the recent – albeit short-lived – occupation of Southwick Green last month, in which a dozen caravans were removed from the open space within hours of setting up camp.
In a letter to the Herald, the Hillside Ward councillor felt the new transit site would ultimately save the public money – despite costing £1.25million.
He said: “Initially there was some public concern as to whether the new site would actually have a positive effect on such issues, but this is the second time police powers have been used under Section 62 in Adur alone, made possible by the new site.
“On both occasions, it has led to the speedy removal of the travellers. In the case of Southwick Green, removal took less than a day, when previously, it could have been seven days or even longer depending on court availability
“While each future unlawful incursion needs to be treated on its merits, it is likely that as word gets around the traveller community that such incursions will not be tolerated, and that refusal to move will be met with police action, less will see Adur as a soft touch and move elsewhere.
“There are now positive signs that there will be a significant reduction in unlawful incursions, public concern, disturbance, and the associated costs of obtaining an eviction order.”
Mr Simmons added he was thankful for the ‘positive comments’ from the public to the latest traveller issue.
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