"The time has come to reconsider the Vagrancy Act" says Prime Minister - Crisis response
The Prime Minister has recognised the need to ‘reconsider’ the archaic Vagrancy Act and that ‘no one should be criminalised for having nowhere to live’.
During today’s Prime Ministers Questions, Mr Johnson’s comments came in response to a question from Bob Blackman MP around amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to ensure that the legislation, which is nearly 200 years old, can be consigned to the history books.
The Vagrancy Act, which came into law in 1824, criminalises rough sleeping and begging. Through its ‘Scrap the Act’ campaign, Crisis has been calling for the Act to be repealed so that people experiencing homelessness are supported rather than criminalised for having nowhere to go, other than our streets.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “The Prime Minister is absolutely right to agree that the Vagrancy Act should be reconsidered and that no one should be criminalised because they are homeless. This archaic piece of law not only drives people further away from support, but also ensures they remain stuck in the devastating cycle of homelessness with no route out.
“There is no place for this law if the Prime Minister wants to redouble the UK Government’s efforts to tackle homelessness. There may soon be a golden opportunity to take the bold action we need, as amendments to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which would repeal the Vagrancy Act, are currently being considered in the House of Lords. We look forward to working with the Government to ensure this outdated legislation is scrapped.”