'Costly' travellers row could 'drag on for months' as council seeks High Court injunction

A row over police refusing to evict travellers from a site in Dudley could drag on towards Christmas due to court delays.

The Budden Road transit site in Coseley
The Budden Road transit site in Coseley

Dudley Council is at loggerheads with West Midlands Police (WMP) after a group of travellers stayed at the Budden Road transit site in Coseley beyond the 28 days allowed by law.

WMP refused to evict them, after Chief Superintendent Kim Madill said it was important to recognise "diversity" having raised concerns over the travellers' human rights.

The town police commander's comments prompted Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley to accuse her of political bias against his Conservative administration and request she be moved out of the borough.

Councillor Harley said the authority was now seeking a High Court injunction ordering the removal of the travellers.

But he warned it could take up to three weeks due to the huge backlog of cases faced by the courts – meaning the travellers would be at the site for more than a month longer than allowed under a protocol agreed between WMP and the council.

In a strongly worded letter to Labour Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, Councillor Harley said the "lengthy" process would hit taxpayers in the pocket.

Councillor Patrick Harley is unhappy with the police response to travellers staying at the Budden Road transit site

He said he was "appalled" at the lack of support from the police, and questioned why the police commander had gone against the agreed protocol.

He also insisted the council had not breached human rights legislation as its actions were "necessary, reasonable, and proportionate".

Councillor Harley said: "We also need to be mindful of the human rights of the residents of Dudley who are neighbours of the transit site on Budden Road.

"My Cabinet and I have lost all confidence in the current borough commander’s ability to support the Council in issues relating to travellers.

"I would be grateful if you could confirm what action will be taken to remedy this and your commitment that the council will receive the full support of the police in future."

Travellers were due to leave Budden Road on November 12. Police attended the site, but refused to assist bailiffs in moving them on, according to Councillor Harley.

Ch Supt Madill said the travellers were "part of our community" and that WMP was committed to "reducing prejudice and racism" against them.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News