The Home Office’s work in this particular area actually refers to some of the criminality that takes place and that has happened through Traveller communities and unauthorised encampments.Priti Patel in conversation with Gillian Merron
Now that’s very different to Gypsy and Roma communities. The two are absolutely separate.
But basically we saw a police officer that was ‘effectively murdered’ through a robbery that took place by a Traveller family.
Priti Patel made these comments (and other) in an online ‘Conversation with the Home Secretary‘ event hosted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Chief Executive Gillian Merron referred to the Home Office consultation launched last year on whether to make “unauthorised encampments” a criminal offence.
She rehearsed the familiar tropes, that Gypsies and Roma are traditional and respectable, and that Travellers, who live on unauthorised sites are essentially criminal. The racist generalisations and stereotypes will be all too familiar to ACERT members but profoundly depressing coming from a cabinet responsibility for this area. She also appears to have her facts wrong.
We believe that she is refering death of police officer Andrew Harper, 28, in August last year for which Jessie Cole, Albert Bowers and Henry Long were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 42 years in July this year. All three have lodged appeals against their sentences, with Bowers and Cole also seeking to appeal their convictions.
The Travellers Times reports that none of the three men are Irish Travellers or have connections to “unauthorised sites”. Long was arrested on an authorised Berkshire site where English Romanies and Irish Travellers live alongside each other. They also do not appear to be “a family”.
Pauline Anderson, chair of The Traveller Movement has written an open letter calling for an apology
We consider your comments during this meeting to constitute hate speech as it brands an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.The Traveller Movement Open letter to Priti Patel
You have a duty as a public figure to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and encourage good relations between all groups. Your comments not only pit ethnic groups against one another, they also single out an entire ethnic group as criminal and violent.