Like many towns, Ipswich sometimes experiences Traveller encampments on its parks, open spaces or car parks.
The Borough Council takes swift action to recover possession of its land but is often asked why the Travellers are not moved on immediately.
These Frequently Asked Questions explain what the issues are and how we deal with them.
No. The powers given to local councils and the Police are discretionary and can only be used when certain conditions exist.
Trespass is not a criminal offence (it is a civil matter) and prevention is the responsibility of the landowner – not Ipswich Borough Council or the Police.
Most Gypsies and Travellers are law-abiding citizens. The Police will investigate any crime committed if there is a complaint.
The Police may activate their powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to require Gypsies/Travellers to leave. This can happen if the Police are satisfied that two or more people are trespassing on the land, and the landowner has taken reasonable steps to make them leave (and they have failed to do so). In addition, one of the following also has to apply:
Ipswich Borough Council, like all local authorities, has to follow a process laid down by law to remove illegal encampments. This involves taking the following steps:
This will vary on a case-by-case basis but the legal process outlined in an earlier question does take time. The Council takes every step it can to return its land to its intended use as quickly as possible but has to act within the legal framework.
You should contact the Gypsy and Traveller Unit at Suffolk County Council.
Ipswich Borough Council’s Environmental Health Service can be contacted by email on PSHEmail@ipswich.gov.uk
If the encampment is on Council-owned land, the Environmental Health team will lead the process to recover the land, liaising with the Police and Suffolk County Council.