Mark’s elder brother Brian Francois served for over thirty years in the Metropolitan Police and since his time as an MP, has contintued to take a strong interest in local policing matters.

As part of this, Mark keeps in contact with local police commanders, including PFCC, Roger Hirst- and from time to time, he has gone out on patrol with local officers, to see the challenges which they face at first hand.


 Mark Francois MP meeting Essex Police’s new Rochford and Castle Point District Commander, Chief Inspector Paul Hogben, in his Westminster office

For several years, I and several other Essex MPs campaigned hard in Parliament for the “Irish Option”, (named after a change in the law in Ireland, some two decades ago) which would make acts of deliberate trespass a criminal, rather than civil offence.

These changes were finally adopted in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.


Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, specific to Unauthorised Encampment

During a recent meeting with Rochford and Castle Point District Commander, Paul Hogben, he confirmed that the new legislation has had strong deterrent effect on the minority of Travellers who sought to deliberately flout the law- and, compared to last year, unauthorised encampments appear to be down markedly across the County, something which Mark was very pleased to hear.

In addition, Mark was very involved with the ‘Save Essex Police’ campaign to resist proposals to merge the Essex constabulary with that of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. Mark led the Parliamentary end of the campaign which involved tabling Parliamentary questions, speaking out in debates, working with the media and making representations to Ministers about the changes, which were eventually dropped.