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Police Powers: Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994
If it is appropriate for the Police to take primacy, sections 61 and 62 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 will be applied. In all instances there will be consultation with the Local Authority. Each police OCU will be required to act in accordance with force policy, which will be applied in a consistent manner across the force.
Force policy requires that powers under section 61 and 62 will be exercised when:
- there is a threat to public order,
- obstruction of the highway,
- when crime is, or has been, committed which can be linked to the illegal encampment.
The decision to invoke Police powers will be the responsibility of the OCU duty Superintendent who must be satisfied that those thsoe camping have been requested to leave; that damage has been sustained to the property, or that the campers have used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards the occupier or owner of the land, a member of his/her family or their employee or agent.
Prior to invoking Police powers consideration must be given to humanitarian and welfare issues. The Local Authority will carry out enquiries in this regard. Such consideration need not cause a lengthy delay but the Local Authority may consider issues such as a critical illness or treatment at hospital as being valid reasons for not moving campers; issues such as children attending school will not, generally, be regarded as being sufficient grounds for a delay.
Consideration may be given to the use of powers contained elsewhere within legislation i.e. wilful obstruction of the highway (Section 137 Highways Act 1980).