Meeting confirms Essex Police/Thurrock Council protocol over illegal traveller activity

MEMBERS, officers and senior police officials packed into an extraordinary meeting last week (Monday 5 September) to discuss one agenda item – trap racing.

Back in July a large scale unpermitted trap racing event took over part of the Manorway in Corringham causing disruption to local residents, businesses and road users.

It was agreed as part of the action plan after the event to hold a special Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny meeting to look at the details and measures to prevent a repeat.

Members agreed all recommendations.

Thurrock Council will not tolerate unpermitted trap racing to take place in the borough and will implement available measures to prevent it taking place again.

Essex Police and Thurrock Council will continue to work in partnership to share intelligence regarding unauthorised future trap racing in the Borough and Essex Police to commit to deploy the necessary resources to prevent a repeat occurrence.

The Council will look into further restrictions regarding the use of the Manorway, like a PSPO or other injunction.

The Council will pursue all effective road network management options to prevent future trap racing events.

A working protocol will be drawn up between Thurrock Council and Essex Police to shape our partnership approach to unlawful events and gatherings.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Oliver Gerrish, spoke after the meeting. He said: “I’m really pleased that so many people came along to the meeting tonight. It clearly shows how much of an important issue this is.

“I would like to thank Sean O’Callaghan, Essex Police’s Chief Superintendent, for continually making himself available to discuss these issues and I’m confident that moving forward we are in a much better position.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill has continued to push for more action on illegal activity.

He said: “Having met with Essex Police on 1 August, just a day after the trap racing weekend, and heard that the force’s response had nothing to do with police numbers should go a long way to dispel the belief that austerity is to blame for every problem that the police or public services don’t tackle.

“We have already accepted the apology from Essex Police and we have seen a new level of partnership, working to deliver a faster and more joined-up response on unlawful encampments.

“The Council and police will not tolerate the misuse of our roads and I am sure that any further abuse will be dealt with in a much more efficient way.”

Speaking about the wider impact of unauthorised encampments Portfolio Holder for Environment, Cllr Pauline Tolson said: “A lot of work is going in to bring Thurrock back up to an acceptable state of cleanliness but we do appear to battling a constant stream of unlawful encampments.

“Usually, these encampments leave waste and debris behind which needs to be cleared. This additional work takes staff off routine and scheduled services which has a wider impact on the borough.

“I’m extremely pleased to see the full commitment from everybody involved to ensure this is a priority issue moving forward.”

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