TRAVELLERS have been moved on by police after they caused the closure of Ringwood School by setting up camp nearby yesterday (Monday).
The school reopened this morning after New Forest officers used legal powers to require the group, which arrived on Sunday, to leave the car park of the town’s leisure centre in Parsonage Barn Lane.
Insp. Mike Minnock said: “In using these powers, Hampshire Constabulary will always ensure that we balance the needs and rights of all our communities with actions that are proportionate, lawful and necessary.
“I hope this swift action to move the travellers on from locations that were unsuitable will convey to all sections of the community that a robust approach will be taken against encampments within legal parameters.
“We will continue to work closely with partner agencies and private landowners to manage unauthorised encampments and identify repeat locations where there has been criminality or disorder in order to target harden these sites.”
As reported in the A&T, the secondary school cited “operational difficulties and the potential impact on students and staff accessing” the campus in its decision to close.
Teachers are currently catering for key workers’ children as well as face-to-face sessions for Year 10 and 12 pupils.
The school said in a statement yesterday: “We understand the impact of today’s closure on our community and appreciate your understanding.
“To reassure you, all emergency school provision students will have been able to access their learning remotely and the Year 10 students due in have either been taught (or will be
taught) via a live lesson remotely or have had additional time for the missed subject added to their timetable in the coming days.
“We are grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding throughout the day today.”
The police used powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
They can be used when there is significant nuisance or criminal behaviour, unacceptable levels of damage to land or property to gain entry or remain, and a danger to travellers from the chosen site, such as environmental health factors.
This article was amended on 30th June 2020 to include a statement from Ringwood School.