MP and PCC Candidate call for tougher action on illegal traveller sites
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and Conservative Police & Crime Commissioner Candidate for Sussex Katy Bourne have urged tougher action on travellers who cause a nuisance to local communities.
Ahead of the elections on Thursday (15 November), Mr Herbert invited Katy Bourne to visit Pulborough on Saturday (10 November) to hear about the problems which travellers had caused to local residents.
Residents of Arun Prospect contacted their MP earlier this year to relay their concerns about fly-tipping, anti-social behaviour and the treatment of horses in nearby fields.
After months of attempts to persuade the authorities to take action, the residents attended a public meeting organised by Mr Herbert in April this year to express their unhappiness.
Nick Herbert and Katy Bourne visited Arun Prospect, off Station Road in Pulborough, to meet with resident Gillian Harris, who is a member of the Pulborough Local Action Team.
Mrs Harris described how residents’ daily lives had been upset by the arrival of travellers in fields directly opposite Arun Prospect, with fly-tipping in the countryside, horses repeatedly escaping onto public roads, and even the harassment of local people who raised their concerns.
Mrs Harris said: “The residents of Pulborough endured over a year of witnessing animal cruelty, fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour. Despite reporting the various problems to the relevant authorities we found ourselves in a vicious circle of agencies all pointing the finger of responsibility at each other.
“This resulted in many residents feeling that no-one was helping and no-one cared. I hope that in the future, with an elected Police Commissioner in place to aid channels of communication and mutual co-operation, this situation would not recur and offenders are brought to account swiftly.”
Following the visit, Katy Bourne commented: “I was very pleased to meet Mrs Harris to hear about the problems she and local residents encountered over an 18 month period.
“Local communities are infuriated by the invasion of land by travellers and frustrated by the length of time it takes to deal with the problem. The law abiding who play by the rules are being let down.
“This is one of the key issues which emerged in my survey of residents about crime, and as Police & Crime Commissioner for Sussex I would be determined to ensure that these problems were tackled more effectively.”
Nick Herbert added: “This is exactly the kind of problem which I think the new post of Police & Crime Commissioner will help to sort out. Local residents are upset enough when travellers invade land, but when the authorities fail to deal with the issue and it’ s just passed from one official to the next, people understandably get even more irritated.
“After this Thursday, there will be a figure in Sussex who people can go to for help, who will have the power to get things done, and who will be accountable to local communities. I think that will be a huge step forward.”
Mr Herbert continued: “I’m impressed that Katy Bourne has already taken up this issue which concerns us in our West Sussex villages, and I hope that she will be elected this week. In any case, I hope that people will use their vote for this important new role which I think will matter to local communities.”
The elections for Police & Crime Commissioner elections will take place this Thursday (15 November), with polls open from 7.00am to 10.00pm. Police & Crime Commissioners will replace police authorities and will be responsible for holding the police to account, setting the police plan, deciding how much to raise for the local force through council tax, and appointing the chief constable.
Notes for Editors
1. For further information on Katy Bourne, please visit her website: www.katybourne.com
2. For further information on the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in Sussex, please visit: http://www.policecrimecommissioner.co.uk/Sussex