I can see from personal contact and from social media that residents are concerned that this may be the same group who caused anti-social behaviour at Woodfield Way earlier in the year. I can understand those concerns given the local impact back then. However, this particular family group in North Street have been moving around the local area for the last 4-5 weeks, most recently in Pangbourne Meadows and in Tidmarsh. They have been peaceful and have attracted hardly any calls or complaints about their presence, apart from their initial arrival at locations.
At the public meeting, I promised that we would continue to review our ability to use our powers under Section 61 and I promised that we would increase our visibility and engagement if there were local encampments.
Neighbourhood officers will be out in Theale today – specifically visiting locations close to the encampment, as well as businesses in the High St who were affected by the previous encampments back in May. We will continue with that engagement for as long as the encampment is in place. This will ensure that we get a quicker picture of the impact on the community. Please continue to inform us of any incidents rather than just sharing them on social media because as I’m sure you can understand, we cannot take reports from social media as they are not always accurate.
We are investigating the criminal damage that was caused to gain entry to the field – we have already spoken with potential witnesses, but if you witnessed it yourself it would be extremely helpful if you contacted us with the details of what you actually saw. The reference number for this encampment is URN 930 9/7.
At this time the people in the encampment are not behaving in a way that supports us using the powers under Section 61. This will be reviewed on a daily basis and will be informed by your reports and by the reports gathered by the officers carrying out the engagement. We are linked in with the Parish Council who are also trying to support you as local residents.
It is also worth remembering my point at the public meeting that if / when we move an encampment on through our powers or through the Council getting an eviction order, we have no additional powers to direct them away from the area or to influence where they go next.
West Berkshire Police Area Commander
Updated: 10/07/2018 by Claire Williams (Police, Administrator, West Berkshire)