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Police and Crime Commissioner’s Urgent Plea For Travellers’ Transit Sites In Surrey

Published on: 19 Jun, 2018
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2020

Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro has said today (June 19) transit sites providing temporary stopping places for travellers must be introduced in the county following a number of recent unauthorised encampments.

Travellers’ vehicles on Bellfields Green, Guildford.

Mr Munro has been in regular dialogue in the last few weeks with Surrey Police and various local councils who have been dealing with encampments in areas across the county including, Guildford, Woking, Cobham, Godstone, Spelthorne and Earlswood.

He said the use of transit sites providing temporary stopping places with proper facilities have proved successful in other areas of the UK – but there are currently none in Surrey.

He has now submitted a response to a government consultation on unauthorised encampments calling for the shortage of transit sites and lack of accommodation provision to be urgently addressed.

The joint response has been sent on behalf of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and gives views on issues such as police powers, community relations and working with local authorities. The PCC is the APCC national lead for Equalities, Diversity and Human Rights which includes Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (GRT).

The submission can be viewed in full by clicking here.

In a press statement, Mr Munro added that he met last year with various borough council leaders and wrote to the chairman of the Surrey Leaders Group regarding transit sites but has been frustrated by the lack of progress. He is now writing to all MPs and council leaders in Surrey to ask for their support.

He said: “This summer has so far seen unauthorised encampments at a number of locations across Surrey which has inevitably caused some disruption and concern to local communities and increased the strain on police and local authority resources.

“I know the police and local councils have been working hard to take the appropriate action where necessary but the key issue here is the lack of suitable transit sites for GRT communities to access.

“Travellers are often served with orders by the police or local authority and then move on to another location nearby where the process begins again. This needs to change and I will be redoubling my efforts at both a local and national level to push for the introduction of transit sites in Surrey.

“The provision of these sites, while not a complete solution, would do much to provide that careful balance which is so important between lessening the impact on settled communities and meeting the needs of the traveller communities. They will also give the police extra powers to direct those in unauthorised encampments to a designated place.

“What we must not allow is any heightened tensions created by unauthorised encampments to be used as an excuse for intolerance, discrimination or hate crime towards the GRT community.”

In Guildford, travellers who pitched up at Stoke Park last week, then Bannister’s Field, are now on Bellfields Green.

Guildford Borough Council issued a statement today (June 19) with the following details: “We are in the process of doing all we can, as quickly as possible. The travellers will be served with a notice directing them to leave as soon as possible.

“We are working with the police who are also aware of the current situation. If the caravans and accompanying vehicles have not left the site in accordance with the direction to leave, we will take further action through the legal process.

“We are monitoring the situation and have provided the occupants with bin bags and made arrangements to remove any rubbish.

“We are also aware of the traveller encampment on parish land at Spiceall, Compton. For further information please contact Compton Parish Council.

“If you have any questions about encampments on Guildford Borough Council land, or to report rubbish, please contact customer services on 01483 505050 or email

“If you are reporting antisocial behaviour or criminal activity, please contact Surrey Police on its non-emergency number 101 or 999 in an emergency only.

“For further information about how we deal with traveller encampments, please visit .”

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Responses to Police and Crime Commissioner’s Urgent Plea For Travellers’ Transit Sites In Surrey

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    June 20, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I refer to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s quote: “What we must not allow is any heightened tensions created by unauthorised encampments to be used as an excuse for intolerance, discrimination or hate crime towards the GRT community.”

    What about the intolerance shown by this group against other ‘groups’ within the static community?

    Tolerance has to be both ways and the lack of tolerance for our groups’ way of life and efforts to maintain standards is somewhat one sided.

  2. Sean Jenkinson Reply

    June 22, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I would like to know what the council are going to do about Bellfields green in the future.
    It is one of the only large open spaces the travellers can get onto without any trouble as there are no defences to stop them, and now they know that they will be back next year more than likely.
    I know it does not always stop them but barriers may deter them in the future.

  3. Francesca Stern Reply

    July 9, 2018 at 8:20 am

    The Travellers who are currently pitched on Shalford’s cricket green are the same ones who occupied Gosden Common last week. Despite Waverley providing wheelies for their rubbish, Gosden Common was strewn with rubbish, broken glass and dog poo. And, the rear of the pavilion was used either as a latrine or for emptying their toilet cans so human excrement everywhere.

    Travelling is a lifestyle choice, not a right, and these people should abide by the same standards as the “static” community if they want to be accepted.

    One of the reasons there are no longer transit sites in Surrey is because when they were there, the Travellers trashed them in much the same way as they are currently trashing the open spaces they invade.

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