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Force works with council colleagues to tackle unlawful encampments in West Dorset

03 June 2021
Dorset Police worked alongside Dorset Council to tackle unauthorised encampments in West Dorset over the bank holiday weekend.

At around 6.30pm on Friday 28 May 2021 officers were called to reports of a group of travellers at Weymouth Rugby Club. They attended and spoke to the group, before monitoring the incident overnight. Separate unauthorised encampments were also reported at Swannery car park and the Nothe. 

On Saturday 29 May 2021 Dorset Police reattended the rugby club, while the local authority made the alternative site at Piddlehinton available.

While officers were at the site, the group left and relocated to the Marsh Swimming Pool area at around midday.

Following a process of engagement, a notice under section 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was served on the group to leave the site by 10.30am on Sunday 30 May 2021 to the approved alternative site in Piddlehinton. The group departed out of the Dorset local authority area by the stated time.

Dorset County Local Police Area (LPA) Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Lyne, of Dorset Police, said: “Having listened to the various groups involved and considering the various parties rights, officers worked alongside colleagues at Dorset Council to move on these groups from key community locations using the available and relevant powers. The decision was also made to allow two smaller encampments to remain as there was no impact on the local community and they had worked with the local authority on the site, including buying parking tickets.

“We have robust plans in place to deal with unauthorised encampments throughout the summer months and we continue to ask residents and visitors to respect each other and help protect the county’s environment.”

Dorset Police received a report at around 7.50am on Tuesday 1 June 2021 of an unauthorised traveller encampment at the Bridport Leisure Centre. Following discussion with the local authority and the leisure centre, officers gave the group a section 62 direction to vacate the site.

Chief Superintendent Steve Lyne continued: “Officers carried out regular patrols in the area and liaised with those present, as well as the local community. The group left the site at around 9pm on Tuesday 1 June in line with the section 62 direction.”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “Our Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service is working with Dorset Police, liaising with travellers and landowners to provide advice and support to landowners and the settled community. We also act as a first point of contact for travellers for health, welfare, housing and education issues. 

“Our transit site at Piddlehinton can provide a solution to unauthorised encampments and enable the police to use particular powers. We ask everyone to be respectful and look after our county.”

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