A ‘firm but fair’ approach to traveller camps has been set out in the police commissioner’s new plan for 2021-25.

Matthew Barber, who was elected last month, said he wanted Thames Valley Police and councils to establish a ‘clear strategy’ to deal with encampments.

Writing in his draft Police and Crime Plan, which will be discussed by councillors on Friday, Mr Barber said: “At the peak of the season, illegal encampments can be a significant concern for residents across the Thames Valley. Currently, the initial trespass is rarely a police matter, but this is often accompanied by reports of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage, theft and intimidation.

“Everyone should be treated equally before the law. There are undoubtedly individuals within the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) community who consider themselves above the law but equally the many law-abiding members of those nomadic communities should expect the same protection by the police and the same access to services such as healthcare, as permanent residents.

“This is often seen as a conflict, with static communities either feeling the authorities turn a blind eye, or GRT communities feeling victimised.”

He said a ‘firm but fair’ approach that had the support of traveller communities was needed.

Other priorities outlined in the plan include local policing, cybercrime and fraud, and tackling serious organised crime.

The plan will be discussed by the Police and Crime Panel, a group of councillors from across the Thames Valley, at a meeting in Banbury on Friday.

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