Headlines: March 24th, 2010

Local authorities have been told they need to work more closely with other agencies to address anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers. New guidance for councils, the police and others has been published as part of a major new campaign to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The Communities Secretary John Denham said that as in any community only a small minority of Gypsies and Travellers behaved badly but their mobile lifestyle could exacerbate this and there was a perception that the community was not dealt with in the same way as other groups, which damaged public confidence. The new guidance sets out all the powers available to authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour associated with Gypsies and Travellers, whether they are the perpetrators or the victims.

It covers what action can be taken on policing and prevention, fly-tipping, noise, straying livestock and untaxed vehicles. It stresses the importance of working together to apply the rules to Gypsies and travellers in gathering evidence, taking prosecutions or collecting fines.

Mr. Denham said everyone had the right to live in neighbourhoods free from anti-social behaviour and he added: “Everyone has responsibilities and rights and no one should receive preferential treatment.” The new guidance has been welcomed by the independent Task Group on Site Provision and Enforcement for Gypsies and Travellers, which includes Gypsy and Traveller representation. Its chair, Sir Brian Briscoe, hoped it would help local authorities and said it built on measures put in place for councils to provide new authorised sites and tough powers for them to deal with camping on unauthorised land.