The leader of Harrow Council said it will continue to take “swift action” against travellers on public land – but reiterated that the correct process must be followed.

Cllr Graham Henson responded to questions at a full council meeting last week, following several instances of travellers setting up camp around the borough.

There were reports of sites in Canons Park, Whitchurch Playing Fields and Stanmore Marsh earlier this month.

And while Cllr Henson was delivering his response, he said travellers had moved into Newton Farm Park.

Conservative councillor Ameet Jogia praised the work of officers and police in responding to reports but urged the council to do all it can legally to deal with these situations as quickly as possible.

Cllr Henson outlined the process available to the council and said it must operate “within the law”.

“We do take swift action, working with the police,” he said. “We can’t just go round with a tow truck and pull them away.”

After carrying out a needs assessment – ensuring that eviction is “reasonable” – the council will usually give travellers 24 hours to leave the site.

If this is ignored, it can only take further action once a court order has been granted – something which can take several days to come through.

In some instances, the police can use section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to remove trespassers if they have caused significant damage or are acting in an abusive manner.