According to the latest government statistics, the number of travellers' caravans In England has almost tripled from 8,000 to 23,000 between 1979 and 2020. When several caravans settle in unauthorised encampments, it can be a costly exercise to move them on and clean-up after they have departed - costs that are estimated to reach more than £100 million annually for councils and private landowners combined.
The VPS Trespasser Tracking Advanced Knowledge (T-Trak) initiative helps landowners and property managers to avoid the expense of temporary encampments, squatters, or illegal gatherings such as illegal raves.
Data for all attempted security breaches on the 30,000 UK premises that VPS looks after is analysed, combined with additional information sources, and then collated. The results provide advanced intel as and when the encampments move on, enabling VPS to map the next likely 'hotspots', and to warn their customers of potential unauthorised encampments and trespassers arising in their region.
Release of T-Trak2.0 has created an even more powerful, targeted version that provides customers with a site-specific Urgent Intelligence Report identifying a risk analysis for their venue. Deeper data mining, together with additional VPS resources including eviction and bailiff services, manned guarding, property inspectors, and alarm responses, provides real-time reporting of incidents and locations of unauthorised activity across the UK and Ireland.
VPS review all properties managed within the immediate area of concern, and then checks the properties nearby, and provides a three-tiered profile to determine the level of risk of intrusion. It documents the location of the threat, the travel time to VPS customers' properties, the level of risk, and whether specific circumstances apply such as large open spaces, copper on site, fly-tipping opportunities or recently refurbished building and materials.
In a recent example, an encampment was discovered in Basildon, Essex, minutes away from a vacant warehouse and car park facility managed by a multinational real estate company. A T-Trak2.0 report was compiled, and the customer approved the recommendation for a canine-handling unit - the guard and dog arrived within two hours. Within two days, they had prevented intruders from entering the site.
"The most effective immediate response to an imminent risk is the short-term deployment of a dog-handling unit. Additional security, such as perimeter fencing, concrete barriers, alarm systems and CCTV can always be added or replace the guards later.” Jose Rosa, head of guarding, VPS
Typical areas targeted by unauthorised encampments are large open spaces such as carparks, next to empty warehouses where copper cabling or water tanks might be present. The car parks are sometimes turned into illegal flytipping centres and run as a commercial enterprise.
Advanced warnings mean short-term enhanced security measures can protect clients’ properties at times of increased vulnerability.
Additional data: Government research cited one example where 200 unauthorised settlements settled in just one borough over three years. In the most recent official data published, some areas such as North Warwickshire went from zero unauthorised encampments recorded in the six months up to January 2019, to 78 the following year, Basildon in Essex experienced an 80 per cent rise, and West Lancashire a 25 per cent rise.
The VPS Group is Europe's leading temporary security specialist offering an Intelligent Triple Protection proposition to customers in a range of sectors with a focus on vacant and void residential and commercial properties, alongside construction site security.
The group is formed of 12 businesses and employs more than 1,300 staff across seven countries in the UK and mainland Europe. Core facilities management and building services cover the vacant, unoccupied and void property lifecycle, from an initial risk assessment to security including guarding, monitoring, clearing, cleaning, maintenance and preparation.
These services protect properties against unauthorised access and a variety of hazards such as arson, theft, squatting and unauthorised occupation. Its sister company, VPS Site Security, specialises in providing security for construction, highways, utilities and remote challenging sites.
For more information call Brenda Mathis +44(0)77 222 82 946
 Live Table 2, Caravan Sites Provided by Local Authorities and Private Registered Providers in England, January 2020 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/891230/Traveller_caravan_count_live_tables_Jan_count.xlsx
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