Laura Sharman 19 June 2019

Calls to scrap ‘draconian’ Vagrancy Act

Calls to scrap ‘draconian’ Vagrancy Act image

A new report has argued the 1824 Vagrancy Act, which makes rough sleeping and begging illegal in England and Wales, is ‘inhumane’ and should be scrapped.

The report, published by Crisis and backed by politicians and the police, warns the Act is unfit for purpose and is needlessly criminalising vulnerable people.

Figures obtained under a freedom of information request show there were 1,320 prosecutions under the Act in 2018, an increase of 6% on the previous year. However rough sleeping in England has increased by 70% between 2014 and 2018, suggesting the Act is not the most effective tool for dealing with rough sleeping.

‘The continued practice of criminalising homeless people under the Vagrancy Act is a disgrace. There are real solutions to resolving people’s homelessness – arrest and prosecution are not among them,’ said Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis.

He added: ‘The Government has pledged to review the Vagrancy Act as part of its rough sleeping strategy, but it must go further. The Act may have been fit for purpose 200 years ago, but it now represents everything that’s wrong with how homeless and vulnerable people are treated. It must be scrapped.’

The report found the anti-social behaviour act of 2014 was a more ‘appropriate’ of addressing issues such as aggressive begging.

The Brownfield Land Release Fund image

The Brownfield Land Release Fund

To what extent does this early initiative of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities deliver on the ‘levelling up’ agenda? Lawrence Turner reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Career Grade Planning Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£27978 - £37722 per annum + n/a
Career Grade Planning Officer - West Area and East Area Team The Royal Borough of Greenwich continues to faces an unprecedented growth agenda in terms England, London
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highway Engineer - Reactive Maintenance

Bracknell Forest Borough Council
£35,354 - £40,506 incl. LWA, plus £963 car allowance
We make a difference to the environment we live in. Come and help us manage our highway infrastructure. Bracknell, Berkshire
Recuriter: Bracknell Forest Borough Council

Lifeguard (South Woodham Ferrers Leisure Centre)

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - Starting at £18, 291 per annum, and rising to £19,515
South Woodham Ferrers is one Chelmsford City Council’s four leisure facilities, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something ... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Car Park Attendant

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - Starting at £18,291 per annum, rising to £19,515
We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated individual to join our Car Park team to support with the day-to-day running of our 19 City Centre car ... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Lifeguard (Riverside Leisure Centre)

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 3 - Starting at £18, 291 per annum, rising to £19,515
Riverside Leisure Centre is Chelmsford City Council’s flagship leisure facility, offering a variety of sporting activities where there is something... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue