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Criminalising trespass will hurt Travellers most – but government proposals fail on their own terms

By Helen O'Nions, Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University
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Under new government proposals, police in the UK will be allowed to seize homes and arrest Travellers who refuse to move from unauthorised camps. A new law which effectively criminalises intentional trespass and imposes sentences of up to three months and fines of up to £2,500 will disproportionately affect Travellers, who are recognised as an ethnic group under the Race Relations Act.

Police will direct Travellers to leave sites on which they have…

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