Lincolnshire Police said it has “no powers in law” to intervene with the stop notices that have been issued at RAF Scampton by West Lindsey District Council. The force has explained its level of involvement with the controversial plans to house up to 2,000 male asylum seekers at the former RAF Scampton.
Lincolnshire Police said it is “actively policing the ongoing protests” which lie within policing powers but said it is unable to get involved with the future plans for the site. The Home Office said it is “confident” with its plans and continues to prepare the site for asylum seekers despite allegedly “breaching” stop notices issued by West Lindsey District Council (WLDC).
Superintendent at Lincolnshire Police, Phil Baker said: “The stop notice given by West Lindsey District Council is a civil notice serviced by the authority to the Home Office – the police have no powers in law to intervene on this. We have worked closely with the local authority since the announcement of the asylum centre was made to ensure they understand what our role is.
“We have been actively policing the ongoing protests, which do fall under a policing remit, and are taking positive action against the minority reported to be causing disruption when it occurs. We will continue to do all we can around those protest camps to ensure they are safe and lawful and that our communities are safe.”
Two men at the site were charged by Lincolnshire Police with a public order offence of using threatening/abusive words/behaviour likely to cause harrassment, alarm or distress. Roger Phillips, 47, of De Wint Avenue in Lincoln and Simon Avison, 42, of Crosby Road, Grimsby, were arrested on Tuesday, October 17 and have been released on police bail with conditions not to go within one mile of RAF Scampton.
They are due to appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court in November. West Lindsey District Council’s director of planning, regeneration and communities Sally Grindrod-Smith said: “It has been an incredibly frustrating and worrying time for our community. We have had many messages from concerned residents reporting ongoing activity and seeking to understand why the council and the police are not taking further action to stop works on site.
“This is because the site is what is known as ‘Crown Land’. This means that it is owned by the Government and so a local council can not undertake physical enforcement action. The Home Office have not challenged the legality of the Stop Notice; however, it is clear they have not adhered to it.”
She added: “This week we have again written to the Home Office to reiterate that the Stop Notice prohibits RAF Scampton from housing asylum seekers until such time as the Stop Notice is withdrawn by the Council.”
The decision to house the asylum seekers at the former home of The Dambusters will be challenged by WLDC and Braintree District Council at the High Court in London on October 31, 2023.