Gypsy and Traveller communities are an integral part of 21st Century Britain. Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are legally recognised as ethnic groups, and together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language or values, are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act (1976, amended 2000) and the Human Rights Act (1998).

Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are recognised as having a protected characteristic of race under the Equalities Act 2010. In terms of health and education, they are one of the most deprived groups in Great Britain. 

Working in partnership, Dorset Council and the police have signed up to a joint protocol which is intended to ensure a corporate and agreed response to unauthorised traveller encampments. The partners to the protocol agree to deal with each case of unauthorised camping according to the situation that arises and the needs of all concerned including residents in the settled community, tourists, business partners and travellers.