Saturday, September 01, 2012
The problem with the old situation was that in some circumstances squatters could sit tight and the police couldn't touch them unless anyone could prove forcible entry to the property.
The new law allows the police to deal with squatters, but I don't anticipate too many prosecutions arising as a result. What affronted many people was the fact that someone getting back from holiday and finding his house occupied couldn't do the obvious thing and get the coppers in to turf out the intruders. Once the call got to the police station, the grizzled old Sergeant would suck his teeth, shake his head sadly, and say the immortal words "It's a civil case, I'm afraid sir.".
On the assumption that the new stripped-down police force can get round to sending someone to have a look (and I make no criticism of that - the skeleton-staffed front line can't be in two places at once, and have to work to priorities) the squatters will probably shove off rather than risk arrest. Hence, those of us here are not expecting to see many prosecutions under the new law..