‘They are entitled to have a voice as much as anybody else’ - Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner visits Traveller sites
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Travellers' voices must be heard, the county's crime commissioner has said, following a spate of evictions in recent weeks.
Lorne Green, Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), was in Thetford yesterday to visit a number of Traveller sites and discuss police and crime issues.
His visit followed recent evictions of Travellers around the county, including from sites in Great Yarmouth, Taverham, Norwich and Thorpe Marriott.
Concerns around the Taverham site led to a protest over the length of time it took to evict the Travellers. Mr Green said yesterday's visits were part of his consultation with a range of groups.
'It's very important to engage with them because I have to draw up a police and crime plan that includes everybody's views.
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'They are entitled to have a voice as much as anybody else. I have already reached out to a number of groups in the county including different faith groups, religions and nationalities,' he said.
Mr Green acknowledged public concerns over Traveller sites and said it was important to build better understanding of traveller culture.
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'I think it is incumbent on people not to judge on the basis of stereotypes and to make an effort to reach out and accept all sectors of our community.
'But we also have to understand the social and criminal issues that can arise from Traveller communities,' he said.
Mr Green was joined by PC Ashley Grant, Norfolk police's Gypsy, Roma and Traveller liaison officer.
PC Grant said the recent encampments around the Norwich area came after a wedding in Great Yarmouth.
After leaving the wedding, several families had dispersed to sites around the county.
He confirmed that one of the groups had set up in Lowestoft, while another left Taverham on Saturday.