Response - DEFRA Vagrancy Act

By: Nicola Robinson  Published: February 2003


The Government's proposals in 'Living Places - Cleaner, Safer, Greener' included overhauling powers to deal with people on the street. Shelter's response (February 2003) highlighted the need to tackle the causes of street living over criminal sanction

Summary

Shelter's Core Concerns

Shelter's main concern with the consultation paper was that the provision to improve public spaces should not be at the detriment of some of the most vulnerable in our society who may beg, drink or sleep on the street, and will not tackle the causes of street living.

Recommendations

Shelter believed that:

  • Sections 3 and 4 of the Vagrancy Act should be repealed.
  • Additional enforcement measures will undermine progress being made on a wider Government agenda to tackle social exclusion.
  • There should be more joint working between criminal justice agencies and homelessness agencies.
  • There would be no public support for wider use of criminal sanctions to address begging.
  • Solutions to enable people to move on from street homelessness, begging and associated street activities must focus on individual needs and be directly accessible and well resourced.

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