Brighton and Hove’s sole Independent councillor has urged the three main parties to support her efforts to protect public parks from unauthorised travellers’ camps.
She is asking her fellow 53 councillors – all of whom are either Green, Conservative or Labour – to back her.
Her motion asks council chief executive Penny Thompson to write to the Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne.
Councillor Summers wants a letter from the council “to demand urgent action to support police officers in Brighton and Hove to take action using their powers under the Criminal Justice and Disorder Act 1994 to protect residents and businesses whose taxes pay for such fundamental services”.
She points out that the police commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan proposes a “community trigger” to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The aim is to “give victims and communities the right to require that action is taken where an ongoing anti-social behaviour problem has not been addressed”.
In support of her proposed motion for the July meeting of the full council, Councillor Summers said: “The regular presence of traveller groups in the public parks of Brighton and Hove has led to the acute feeling (and reported experiences) among residents and businesses that their own wellbeing and livelihoods are no longer adequately protected by the police.”
Her intervention follows reports of problems in Stanmer Park, in her Hollingdean and Stanmer ward, and in nearby Wild Park in Moulsecoomb.
She has stated that, although her ward has been one of those worst affected as a result of unauthorised camps, it is a problem affecting the whole of Brighton and Hove.
The unauthorised camps have been reported to be bigger this year in part because protective measures have been put in place in more public parks and open spaces in Brighton and Hove.
This has left fewer places accessible to groups of gypsies and travellers and given the larger camps a greater visible presence.
Councillor Summers has written a blog post about the issue. It can be read here.
The council meeting is due to take place on Thursday 17 July and is open to the public.