A new approach to tackling traveller encampments is set to be introduced in Peterborough after businesses complained that they spent half a million pounds defending their land last summer.
A formal protocol is being drawn up by police and the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES) which will set out what action will be taken by the authorities.
A draft of the protocol will be shown to businesses today (Friday, March 24) before being released publicly at a later date.
Adrian Chapman, service director for adults and communities at the council, said: “I’m really pleased we’ve seen a bit of a revelation in the last few months. A change in superintendent has brought a fresh perspective on things.
“Up to now we’ve had no single joint police and council approach to traveller management.
“This protocol addresses that and brings the two organisations together.”
Mr Chapman said the PES will be able to carry out legally required health and safety checks on travellers which only one person at the council can currently do. He added: “The aim is to be more robust where appropriate.”
The police’s response to traveller encampments was questioned after the Peterborough Telegraph’s exclusive with businesswoman Eve Taylor.
Mrs Taylor, who runs her own cosmetics firm in Mallard Road, Bretton, had a caravan parked at the back of her factory. She said: “When the travellers came in, they said ‘if you pay us £1,200, we will move. It is cheaper than going to court. There are five other vans on their way.’
“I phoned the police and was told it was not a threat but a proposal, and there was nothing they could do as it was a civil matter.”
At the time a spokesman for Cambridgeshire police confirmed they had told Mrs Taylor it was not a threat.
Meanwhile, a caravan moved onto a car park at The Cresset in Bretton yesterday.
Penny Hansen, head of commercial activity, said: “This is not the first time we’ve had travellers in our car park. We are aware of the effects this can have on our business and customers.”