On 27/03/23, the Government announced new plans targeting anti-social behaviour. Among the new measures announced, include plans to introduce powers for the Police and local authorities to address rough sleeping and other street activity where it is causing a public nuisance.
Fiona Colley, Director of Social Change at Homeless Link, said:
“Homelessness is not a crime. When the Government committed to repealing the Vagrancy Act it was done with an understanding that people sleeping on our streets need to be supported not criminalised. Therefore, we are extremely disappointed to see that this new plan will result in further criminalisation of vulnerable people, rather than offering the constructive solutions that work in helping people off the streets for good.
“The measures proposed, including enforcement or risk of removal of belongings, will create distrust, pushing people away from the services and support they need. It could be a young person who’s recently left the care system, a woman who has fled an abusive partner or someone who couldn’t keep up with rising rents. Regardless, this plan is a backwards step undermining the Government's own commitment to ending rough sleeping in this parliament.”