Don’t criminalise trespass

The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme, illiberal & unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms that would threaten walkers, campers, and the wider public. It would further tilt the law in favour of the landowning 1% who own half the country.

This petition closed on 5 Sep 2020 with 134,934 signatures


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Recent Documents related to Don’t criminalise trespass

1. Don’t criminalise trespass
03/03/2020 - Petitions

Found: The Government's manifesto stated “we will make intentional trespass a criminal offence”: an extreme

2. Unauthorised encampments
10/10/2017 - Parliamentary Research

Found: England, Wales and Scotland 6 Directing unauthorised campers to leave land 6 Seizure of vehicles 7 1.6 England

3. Powers for dealing with unauthorised development and encampments
06/02/2019 - Home Office
- View source

Found: Government is committed to creating a just and fair country, where equality of opportunity flourishes and

4. Trespass
19/04/2021 - Westminster Hall

5. Powers for dealing with unauthorised development and encampments
06/02/2019 - Home Office
- View source

Found: authorities can direct unauthorised campers to leave land 18 7. Aggravated trespass 21 8. Use of injunctions

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Don’t criminalise trespass

1. Trespass
19/04/2021 - Westminster Hall

1: they leave the room. I would also like to remind Members that Mr Speaker has stated that masks must be worn - Speech Link
2: Parliament. In short, it asks that we do not criminalise trespass. Before its closure in September last year - Speech Link

2. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
03/11/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: believe that police powers, criminal justice measures and the criminal law need to be on a clear and, - Speech Link
2: offensive per se—some of it may be very useful to criminal investigations and crime prevention in the public - Speech Link
3: air-to-ground communication. A government website stated on 21 September:“The imaging systems are intended - Speech Link

3. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
16/03/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: formally when the House is legislating. However, I would urge all Members to exercise caution and not say - Speech Link
2: Departments: stronger police powers and a new criminal offence around unauthorised Traveller camps; putting - Speech Link
3: places a legal duty on local authorities, police, criminal justice agencies, health authorities, fire and - Speech Link

4. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
15/03/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: formally when the House is legislating. However, I would urge all Members to exercise caution and not say - Speech Link
2: around the world on International Women’s Day, I would like to open this debate by once again expressing - Speech Link
3: acting on, and at the time I argued very strongly in favour of two years being the maximum sentence. I was - Speech Link

5. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
13/12/2021 - Lords Chamber

1: brought to justice and face the full force of the law, that we improve support to victims and survivors - Speech Link
2: when we know how prolific they are nationally. I would also welcome greater involvement from the HMICFRS - Speech Link
3: through a Private Member’s Bill, introduced a new offence for upskirting. However, offences for stalking - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Don’t criminalise trespass
1. Trespass: Criminal Investigation
asked by: Stephanie Peacock
29/03/2019
... (b) South Yorkshire and (c) nationally were closed without identifying a suspect in each year since 2010.

2. Barristers: Criminal Law
asked by: Andrew Percy
10/11/2021
... what steps his Department is taking to encourage junior barristers to specialise in criminal law.

3. International Criminal Law: Criminal Investigation
asked by: Andrew Mitchell
03/04/2019
... what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the resources of the (a) Metropolitan Police and (b) CPS to (i) investigate and (ii) prosecute people residing in the UK who are suspected of committing international crimes; and if he will ensure that the investigation and prosecution of such individuals is prioritised.

4. Criminal Law
asked by: Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
06/11/2017
...To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any new criminal offences have been introduced by secondary legislation in the last 15 years.

5. Criminal Law
asked by: Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town
06/11/2017
...To ask Her Majesty's Government which criminal offences have been introduced by secondary legislation in each of the last 10 years.

Latest Questions


For a thousand years, trespass has been a civil offence – but now the Government is proposing to make trespass a criminal offence: a crime against the state. Doing so could:
- Criminalise ramblers who stray even slightly from the path;
- Remove the ability of local residents to establish new rights of way;
- Criminalise wild camping, denying hikers a night under the stars;
- Clamp down on peaceful protest, a fundamental right and essential part of our democracy;
- Impact Traveller communities.


Petition Signatures over time

Government Response

Wednesday 15th April 2020

Responses to the 2019 consultation on trespass, particularly unauthorised encampments, are currently being reviewed and the Government response will be issued in due course.


The law of trespass is largely one of common law, with the courts developing the law and resolving disputes based on the circumstances of the case. However, following the ‘Powers for Dealing with Unauthorised Development and Encampments’ consultation in 2018, it was clear that action is needed to address the sense of unease and intimidation residents feel when an unauthorised encampment occurs: the frustration at not being able to access amenities, public land and business premises; and the waste and cost that is left once the encampment has moved on. There is a need to strengthen police powers, in particular powers to tackle unauthorised encampments.

As a result, the Government launched a consultation in 2019 to seek views on how the act of trespass, when setting up or residing on an unauthorised encampment could be criminalised, or whether it is preferable to extend the current police powers to direct people away from unauthorised sites. Such measures would not affect ramblers, the right to roam or rights of way. Instead, measures could be applied in specific circumstances relating to trespass with intent to reside. The current Home Office consultation sets out a number of options for consideration, including trespass legislation such as that which has existed in the Republic of Ireland since 2002. This legislation provides for an offence where the trespasser is likely to ‘substantially damage’ the land or interfere with it; the police may direct trespassers to leave and failure to comply with that direction is an offence. Trespass is also a criminal offence in Scotland. The Trespass (Scotland) Act specifically excludes the exercise of recreational/roaming access rights.

All of these issues will be carefully considered as part of the consultation process. Responses to the consultation are currently being reviewed and a Government response will be issues in due course.

Ministry of Justice


Constituency Data

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