Moran: Use of Vagrancy Act should shame the Government

A Freedom of Information request has shown that 6,518 ‘offenders’ were found guilty under the Vagrancy Act (1824) between the years 2014 to 2017 in England and Wales. 

The Metropolitan Police were the most likely force to use the Act, which criminalises rough sleepers, averaging 459 convictions a year. West Midlands police force area averaged 161, and Merseyside averaged 148 per year. 

Commenting on the findings, Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who has brought forward legislation to scrap the Vagrancy Act, said: “The Government, and local authorities, should be ashamed that they have continued to allow the use of a law that makes rough sleeping a criminal offence, and for it to be used so prolifically with little regard for the people afflicted.

Education spokesperson Layla Moran

“This law was controversial 200 years ago, and it has no place in a modern, compassionate society.

“I call on the Government to back my cross-party campaign to scrap the Vagrancy Act, a Bill which criminalises and degrades the most vulnerable, and should bring shame to those who allow its use.”

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