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How you can help
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‘Respect the Downs’ has been liaising with Councillors, Council Officers and the Police Force throughout 2019 – though frustratingly, the Mayor of Bristol has declined to become involved in any discussions despite invitation.
This has resulted in a good level of understanding about what the law currently permits, what information is lacking and how responsibility for dealing with these issues is divided across various different authorities:
1. Unauthorised Encampments (UAE’s)
The current Bristol City Council protocols together with existing legal
frameworks require Bristol City Council to apply welfare checks on all
travellers. This means that it is not possible at this point for traveller
incursions to be immediately moved on by Bristol City Council. However
the Impact Assessment made by Bristol City Council immediately following a
new UAE dictates the pace of the removal process either through eviction or through Bristol City Council requesting A&S Police to use their powers. It’s
vital that BCC correctly follows its own protocols and involves Affected
Residents when making this assessment.
2. Van Dweller Encampments
Bristol City Council has recently introduced protocols to deal with Van Dweller – Police powers covering this issue are currently restricted to MOT and Tax checks as well as normal traffic and anti-social behaviour laws. Bristol City Parking Officers do patrol the Downs, however they are constrained by the current 5 hour restriction time which does not lend itself to effective control of overnight camping.