Should Aggravated Trespass Be Made a Criminal Offence?
Yes it should in my opinion.
The government are consulting about this very question - particularly in relation to unauthorised encampments. Their consultation closes 4 March so I hope many people respond. There's no black and white answer, with passionate views on either side.
Policing generally says no: the existing laws are adequate - but I disagree. In Surrey, I have witnessed at first hand through the many eye-witnesses that have told me their story about how devastating the effects of unauthorised encampments can be on the local community. While most of these pass off peacefully, some do not. And putting a new law on the statute book will have a significant deterrent effect, even if it's not widely used.
Any new law must be introduced sensitively and I look to the College of Policing to come up with a comprehensive set of protocols to guide individual police forces - but the principle is clear to my mind: those who break the law must face the consequences.