UK

Police will take no further action regarding MP’s leaflet on Traveller sites

David TC Davies says that the leaflet was criticism of the council and not Gypsy and Traveller communities (Victoria Jones/PA)
David TC Davies says that the leaflet was criticism of the council and not Gypsy and Traveller communities (Victoria Jones/PA) David TC Davies says that the leaflet was criticism of the council and not Gypsy and Traveller communities (Victoria Jones/PA)

Police are taking “no further action” following complaints about a political leaflet sent by the Wales Secretary of State to his constituents that raised concerns about Traveller and Gypsy sites.

The Conservative leaflet asked for people’s opinion on the proposal to establish sites in David TC Davies’ Monmouth constituency.

An advocacy group said the MP’s “actions intended to create a hostile environment for Gypsies and Travellers” but Mr Davies insisted the “location of sites was a legitimate matter for public debate”.

Gwent Police previously said it was aware of the leaflet and was reviewing its content, as well as the impact on the Gypsy and Traveller communities in Monmouthshire.

David TC Davies arriving in Downing Street,
David TC Davies arriving in Downing Street, David TC Davies says that the leaflet was criticism of the council and not Gypsy and Traveller communities (Victoria Jones/PA)

On Tuesday, the force issued a statement from Chief Superintendent Carl Williams that confirmed that it would not be taking any further action.

Ch Supt Williams said: “We launched a review into the contents of a leaflet published and distributed in Monmouthshire regarding proposals for a development of a gypsy and traveller site.

“Officers have spoken to several people from the Gypsy and Traveller and Settled communities before seeking advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on whether the leaflet’s contents constituted any offences.

“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously and following this review, we will not be taking any further action.”

The leaflet, which displays pictures of Mr Davies and one of the potential sites, is headlined: “Gypsy and Traveller site coming to your area soon!”

It talks about a Monmouthshire County Council consultation and says Mr Davies “believes that there will be insufficient consultation with the members of the public affected”.

“The council plans a short consultation during the summer holiday period when many residents will be unable to participate,” it adds.

It then asks people to fill in the form overleaf with their views and send it back to the MP’s constituency office in the area of Usk.

One of three questions asks: “Would you like to see a Traveller site next to your house? Y/N.”

Speaking following the criticism, Mr Davies said: “The location of authorised and unauthorised Traveller sites is a legitimate matter for public debate and scrutiny.

“It is entirely valid to criticise a lack of wide public consultation by a council.

“I have been contacted by many upset residents at the shortness of the consultation and the proposed locations for the sites.

“I have also been told that many from the Gypsy and Traveller community are also upset at the proposed locations for the sites. This is not a criticism of the Gypsy and Traveller community.”

Travelling Ahead, which provides advocacy for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales, described the leaflet as “dog whistle actions intended to create hostile environment for Gypsies and Travellers”.

The group said it had reported the leaflet to the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Welsh Conservatives and to the House of Commons standards committee.