Commercial landowners face many issues in terms of security, but perhaps the most complex and potentially troublesome is having to deal with trespass, and particularly the unauthorised encampment on site by travellers. This is a common problem and can be very damaging to the landlord in terms of structural damage and nuisance, but also in the fact that the commercial image of the business can be damaged by the presence of travellers.
However, a commercial landlord needs to be very careful in how they deal with evicting travellers from their site. It is not simply the case that you can wade in personally and use force to evict them, you may have bitten off more than you can chew and this direct action can result in physical damage to yourself, and also potentially an assault charge to deal with. Following the correct legal procedure will ensure you always maintain a strong legal position and always have the upper hand, and that is why using licenced dog security is the best way to evict travellers from your site.
What is the correct procedure for evicting travellers from your site?
To ensure a site eviction goes smoothly you need to use trained and qualified professionals. In this case K9 security, such as React K9, can assist because they know the legal position and are trained to deal with situations such as this calmly and without using force, unless they absolutely have to. The key to a smooth site eviction is using ‘common law’ procedures. In extreme cases, such as when there is a largescale site encampment or you fear a large protest will erupt and a potential for violence exists, then you can apply to the courts for a ‘writ of possession’, but this is costly and can take some time to apply for and process. It is much quicker and simpler to follow Section 61 of the Criminal Justice Act.
Following this procedure you should:
- Enable a Certified Enforcement Officer (CEO) (ie. a licenced security firm such as React K9) to represent the landlord and speak to the traveller group. It may be that they will peacefully agree to vacate the site once they know it is your land. If this doesn’t look like being the case, you can then present them with a formal eviction notice. This will give the group a period of notice to vacate the land, normally 24 hours.
- The CEO should return to the site after the notice period has expired. If the group has vacated the land, then the procedure has worked. If the group has not vacated the land, the CEO can then use ‘reasonable force’ to evict them.
- Reasonable force involves removing the people and vehicles from the land without using unnecessary means. You should ensure that photos are taken as evidence, particularly if the travellers have left a mess or have damaged the property in any way.
- Because this is a civil matter rather than a criminal one, the police cannot intervene to help with the eviction, unless criminal behaviour then occurs, ie. if the removal process turns to violence.
Why should you use professional dog security?
The main benefits of using professional K9 security for your traveller site eviction include:
- They will be licenced to carry out the eviction
- They will know the legal position and what procedure to follow
- They are trained to deal with the situation calmly and will be able to resist resorting to violence in the face of intimidation
- Security dogs act as a visible deterrent
- Professional CEOs give the process more credibility and authority
If you are a commercial landlord and you have an ongoing issue with an unauthorised encampment, get in touch with React K9 and we can assess your situation and advise as to the best way to resolve it safely, calmly and legally to leave you in the best possible position as a commercial landlord and business owner.