Briefing: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

By: Alastair Harper
Published: June 2021

Briefing: Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Part 4 (unauthorised encampments) of the Policing, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is of great concern to a wide range of organisations, including Shelter.

As the country’s leading housing and homelessness charity we are concerned that in its current drafting this section of the Bill will lead to the criminalisation of homeless people in certain situations. And, in particular, will lead to the criminalisation of specific homeless groups, most notably individuals from the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

It is Shelter’s view that given this risk of criminalisation – and given wider concerns with Part 3 of the Bill – that the government should not proceed with the legislation. However, should the government take this Bill forward, urgent clarification is needed around the intent of the powers contained within Part 4.

Shelter supports amendments to Part 2 of the Bill, which would ensure housing authorities assist families and young people at risk of neighbourhood (e.g. gang) violence with the same understanding and urgency as families and young people at risk of domestic violence and abuse.