New police powers of arrest used against Traveller camp in Milton Keynes

14 July 2022
Johanna Price

Friends, Families and Travellers condemn “militarised” police response and reach out to any Traveller who was on the camp to please get in touch with them

The new Police powers have been used during a police raid against a Traveller camp of about 30 vehicles who had stopped on unauthorised land in Milton Keynes, Bucks, earlier this week.

The new law, which came into force on the 28th June, 2022, gives police the powers to arrest Travellers on a camp if they believe that the camp is ‘causing or likely to cause significant distress, damage and/or disturbance’ and the Travellers do not leave.

The new powers, section 60c – 62E of the amended Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, also allow police to seize vehicles, caravans, mobile homes and horse-drawn wagons belonging to anyone on the camp who refuses to leave, and those arrested could face a £2.5k fine and/or six months in prison if convicted.

Two men were arrested and at least four vehicles were impounded, according to news reports, but with the majority of those on the camp leaving “peacefully”.

The charity Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) have condemned the police raid and are asking for any Travellers involved to get in touch.

“We're aware of the extreme police response to a roadside camp in Milton Keynes, and are attempting to make contact with the families to check everyone is okay,” said FFT in a series of Tweets.

“Was such a militarised police response necessary?,” they added. “Were any alternative stopping places available, or offered?”

If you are a Traveller and were caught up in the police raid – or if you are affected by any other use of the new police powers anywhere else in England and Wales – then please contact FFT in confidence on: 01237 234777

Mike Doherty/TT News

(Photograph: Stock photograph of a Gypsy and Traveller camp near Appleby by Johanna Price)