No-one should be criminalised simply for having nowhere to live

No-one should be criminalised simply for having nowhere to live

10:06 AM, 8th April 2022, About 2 months ago 5

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The government is set to repeal the Vagrancy Act which has been in place since 1824 making it an offence to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.

Begging is harmful to those involved and can have a detrimental impact on wider communities.

The government wants to bring forward a new strategy that builds on progress to date and sets out how to end rough sleeping for good and support vulnerable people off the streets, alongside wider work to continue to protect communities from crime and anti-social behaviour.

The consultation, launched today, 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.

This will ensure the police and other agencies can respond effectively and help communities feel safe while ensuring rehabilitation and support is at the heart of our approach.

Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister Eddie Hughes MP said: “No-one should be criminalised simply for having nowhere to live, and it is right that we repeal the outdated Vagrancy Act.

“We must balance our role in providing essential support for vulnerable people with ensuring that we do not weaken the ability of police to protect communities.”

The Vagrancy Act 1824 is an Act of Parliament that makes it an offence to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.

In February 2022 an amendment was made to the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing (PCSC) Bill which will enable full repeal of the Vagrancy Act. In order to ensure that there is no gap in legislation, and to ensure that the police have the tools they need, this repeal will come into force when replacement legislation is in place.

The consultation will last for 4 weeks from 7 April 2022 to 5 May 2022.



Comments

by David Price

12:09 PM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

"The government wants to bring forward a new strategy that builds on progress to date " Have I missed this progress?

by Richard Adams

13:36 PM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Beggars regardless of any change in the law are finding it tough to get given money due to very few of us carrying cash these days.Yet still on the London Underground beggars get on a train to beg in a carriage saying "I'm homeless and need money to find somewhere to live etc etc" then at next station they enter next carriage to repeat the performance and so on. Presumably they had to buy a ticket which is not cheap? I always say to them "why don't you go to the Salvation Army who will put you up?" No response. I say to ex servicemen begging on the street "contact the Royal British Legion who will help you". No response ever. One matter that should be still illegal is street dwellers/beggars not, repeat not,being allowed to keep dogs which is cruel.

by David Price

14:47 PM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Richard Adams at 09/04/2022 - 13:36
I give them my business card and offer them a tenancy. Never had a response.

by Richard Adams

19:57 PM, 9th April 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 09/04/2022 - 14:47
Not surprising. Money is what they want, Genuine alternative offers of help are unwelcome.

by Jonathan Clarke

3:04 AM, 15th April 2022, About a month ago

Giving money or /and a business card is a short term fix. It may give both the giver and the receiver instant gratification with a quick win but it has little long term benefit unless followed up. The homeless often haven't the mental capacity to see beyond the short term fix . But a successful fully functioning landlord of course can but only if they choose too. So if one genuinely wants to help the genuine homeless disaffected dispirited and often dysfunctional people in this world you have to do a lot lot more than give them money or a business card. It needs the work of selfless attention. And that of course takes up a lot more time and energy than a 30 second engagement


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