Posts with tag: Vagrancy Act

Government publishes new consultation on repealing the Vagrancy Act

Published On: April 12, 2022 at 8:15 am


Categories: Law News

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The Government has launched a new consultation on repealing the Vagrancy Act, open from 7th April 2022 to 5th May 2022.

It seeks views on proposals to respond effectively to begging, potential penalties for harmful begging, and how to encourage vulnerable people to engage with rehabilitative support.

The Government is planning to repeal the Vagrancy Act, looking to ensure the police can protect the public and communities. The publication states that the Government is determined to put an end to rough sleeping.

The publication also highlights that the Government has driven a 43% drop in rough sleeping since 2019, which is currently at an 8-year low.

Responding to the consultation, Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, comments: We were delighted to hear that the Vagrancy Act would be repealed. It’s positive that the government is consulting on how to provide essential support for vulnerable people as part of this.

“However, we cannot replace one punitive legislation with another targeting people on the streets. Our core concern is that the proposals are far too wide, could be open to abuse, and lead to people on the streets being punished instead of given the vital help they need. Through our frontline work, we know that an approach based on punishment will drive people away from trying to get support.

“Instead of focussing on measures that may further penalise people on the streets, the government must instead look at how it can encourage a multi-agency approach. This includes ensuring the police can more effectively work with people in this situation, are given training to enable them to do this, and also looking at what wider support from local authorities and other organisations is needed.”

Vagrancy Act criminalising homelessness to be repealed

Published On: February 24, 2022 at 9:09 am


Categories: Law News

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The UK government has confirmed that it will repeal the Vagrancy Act, the 1824 law that criminalises rough sleeping and begging in England and Wales.

Matt Downie, Chief Executive of Crisis, comments: “For almost two hundred years, the criminalisation of homelessness has shamed our society. But now, at long last, the Vagrancy Act’s days are numbered and not a moment too soon.

“This offensive law does nothing to tackle rough sleeping, only entrenching it further in our society by driving people further from support. We know there are better, more effective ways to help people overcome their homelessness.

“We thank the UK government for using the policing bill to finally consign this appalling act to history, where it belongs. We look forward to working with them to finish the job without delay and ensure the criminalisation of destitution is over.

“We are immensely grateful for the tireless work of Peers and MPs from across parties, as well as every Crisis supporter who has got behind our Scrap the Act campaign, who have all brought us to this historic moment.”

Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, previous Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, comments: “The repeal of the Vagrancy Act builds on the success of the Everyone In programme I established during the pandemic and is another important milestone on the road to ending rough sleeping.

“This long overdue reform will reframe the issue of homelessness away from it being a question of criminality, and towards our modern understanding of homelessness as a complex health, housing and social challenge.

“The Vagrancy Act is an archaic piece of legislation which creates a wholly unnecessary obstacle that homeless people must overcome in order to rebuild their lives. I welcome the action that is now being taken to put repeal into law and I urge the government to continue to work with charities, including Crisis, on the detail of its implementation.”