I think this shows the attitudes we're up against!!
Measures to stop the misery caused by new age travellers and ravers are in force for the first time this Summer.
Police have new powers to move new age travellers from land where they are causing damage and disruption, and will be able to stop illegal raves before they start.
Home Office Minister David Maclean said today:
"Ordinary country people will breathe a sigh of relief at this news. They are the ones who have suffered sleepness nights because of the noise, devastation to land and wholesale disruption to the community.
"And they have had to clear up after the ravers have had their fun.
"The measures we have put in place will make it easier for the police to take effective, rapid action."
"We are not out to stop anyone enjoying the Summer. They can do it legally - but they cannot be allowed to do this at the expense of others.
Provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 1994 toughen up existing law, and create new offences.
Trespassers can be moved off land, illegal raves can be banned, and those seeking to disrupt others enjoying sports and pastimes can be stopped.
In addition, the Act give police powers to stop public assemblies of trespassers. This provision has been used for the first time to prevent trespassers at Stonehenge during the Summer solstice.
The main provisions are:
The Act gives the police powers:
* to direct people to leave land if two or more are preparing for a gathering, or if 10 or more are waiting for or attending a gathering and the police believe that they will be joined by others to play loud music during the night such as to cause serious distress to the local residents. It will be a criminal offence not to comply;
* to seize vehicles or sound equipment in the possession of those who refuse a direction to leave; and
* to stop persons they believe will attempt to go to a rave site within a radius of five miles of the site and direct them not to proceed. It will be an offence to fail to obey the direction.
The failure to obey a direction to leave land carries a maximum penalty of three months imprisonment and/or a £2,500 fine.
The Act makes Section 39 of the Public Order Act 1986 more effective by:
* extending it to cover all trespassers on the land - whether or not they entered as trespassers (covering anyone who outstays their welcome).
* including damage to the land itself
* extending it to byways, green lanes and other minor highways;
* clarifying the way it applies to common land;
* reducing the number of vehicles from 12 to six; and
* providing the police with powers to remove vehicles.
The measures provide protection for occupiers of private land and their guests whose lawful activities might be disrupted by trespassers. The most obvious examples are hunting and shooting.
* gives the police the power to direct trespassers to leave land if they believe that the trespassers will seek to disrupt or to prevent a lawful activity. It will be a criminal offence to ignore a direction; and
* creates an offence of intentionally disrupting a lawful activity, or seeking to intimidate someone so as to deter him from engaging in that activity.
This offence carries a maximum penalty of three months imprisonment and/or a £2,500 fine.
* enables the chief officer of police to ask the local authority for an order banning trepassory assemblies on land in a given area for a given period.
This can be done if he believes that it is necessary to prevent serious disruption to the life of the community or to prevent significant damage to land, buildings or monuments of scientific, historic, architectural or archaeological importance. Such orders will require the consent of the Home Secretary.
Breaching, or seeking to breach, an order is a criminal offence;
and the Act:
* provides the police with powers to stop, within a five mile radius, persons or vehicles they reasonably believe intend to defy an order and direct them not to proceed in the direction of the assembly. It will be an offence to fail to obey the direction.
The maximum penalty for organising a prohibited assembly is three months imprisonment and/or a £2,500 fine.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Criminal Justice Act 1994 received Royal Assent on 3 November.
Alan Lodge / Tash: ... email@example.com