Back to the Victorian Age: Tories use ancient law to criminalise the homeless

What a lovely scam (if you’re rich):

  1. Use neoliberal employment and wage policies to force the workforce onto benefits.
  2. Cut the benefits so those people are forced into debt.
  3. Evict those people from their homes when they fall into rent arrears.
  4. Arrest the now-homeless people for vagrancy.
  5. Send the now-criminalised vagrants to prison.
  6. Put them to work for no wages at all and make a big pile of money.

Is that about the size of it, Tories?

It’s an outrage, and must be stopped – so will you help repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act?

Sign the petition to repeal the Vagrancy Act here.

1824 was … the year from which current government policy on rough sleeping gets its statutory backing.

According to the 1824 Vagrancy Act, police are given powers to arrest and detain for up to three months anyone found, “lodging in any barn or outhouse, or in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence”.

This in effect allows for the arrest of homeless people simply for sleeping rough.

Not only is this law still on the books despite the efforts of campaigners, it continues to be enforced even today.

In 2016/17, a Freedom of Information request reported 1,810 prosecutions under the act, and as recently as 2015 the number was more than 3,000.

Yet those are only the prosecutions, and lying behind those statistics is the constant experience of harassment with threat of arrest. Speak to rough sleepers directly and you’ll likely hear countless stories of being moved on and threatened.

Source: The politicians resurrecting a Dickensian law to make homeless people into criminals – New Statesman

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7 thoughts on “Back to the Victorian Age: Tories use ancient law to criminalise the homeless

  1. toocomplex4justice

    If I was sleeping rough I would endeavour to be arrested. Not just for vagrancy but for a crime that would ensure I was warm and dry with access to medical care and social workers.. I have even considered this despite having a home but being trapped in it with no support and my lifetime DLA cancelled due to a random decision by a person with no evidence.
    If the police were to arrest all homeless people where would they put them? So I’m not going to sign this petition until I have considered the consequences. If the police are allowed to ignore homelessness, more will die

  2. NMac

    Forward to the 19th century has always been the Tory plan, right from the Thatcher era and before that they dreamed of being able to set the people back 100 years. They are heartless, evil people.

    1. Zippi

      Where, on Earth, did you get that idea? The Tories, certainly since Margaret Thatcher, have been trying to take us back to the FOURTEENTH Century! Remember the Poll Tax? The 3rd Poll Tax, of 1381; riots… fast forward to 1989, here it comes, again. the following year… riots! Some people never learn!

Comments are closed.