Gypsies and Travellers
Gypsy and Traveller communities are an integral part of 21st Century Britain. Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are legally recognised as ethnic groups, and together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language or values, are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act (1976, amended 2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998).
Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised as having a protected characteristic of race under the Equalities Act 2010. In terms of health and education, they are one of the most deprived groups in the Britain.
The following information sets out how we and other official agencies will work to try to balance the rights of all those involved, including those who own or live next to land where unauthorised camping takes place.
Working in partnership, the councils and the police in Dorset have signed up to a joint protocol which is intended to ensure a corporate and agreed response to unauthorised traveller encampments. The partners to the protocol agree to deal with each case of unauthorised camping according to the situation that arises and the needs of all concerned including residents in the settled community, tourists, business partners and travellers.
The Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Service operated by Dorset County Council helps local councils, the police, local landowners and the Gypsy and Traveller community in this partnership working.
Government policy for gypsies and travellers
The government is committed to ensuring fair and equal treatment for travellers, in a way that facilitates their traditional and nomadic way of life while respecting the interests of the settled community.
Dorset Wide Joint Plan
The Government now requires local authorities to plan more positively for new Gypsy and Traveller and Travelling Showpeople's sites where it is shown that they are needed. As a result, all of the local authorities in Dorset are now working together to produce a Development Plan Document (DPD), which will allocate permanent and transit sites for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople to meet identified needs for the next 15 years.