Liberty Manifesto:

Stand against criminalising poverty

The Government and local authorities are criminalising homelessness in a misguided attempt to airbrush our streets. It’s time they stop punishing poverty and learn from those who are plugging the gap and standing with those who need it most.  

Across England and Wales, police forces are still using the Vagrancy Act to charge thousands of people every year for begging and rough sleeping. This law came into force in 1824 and predates the formation of the police who enforce it. The Government is reviewing the Act – and together with homelessness charities we are pushing for them to scrap it.

Meanwhile local councils are using ludicrously broad powers called Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to criminalise rough sleeping and begging. PSPOs can be used to ban any activities councils think have a detrimental effect on others. We’ve already defeated a number of nonsensical PSPOs – now we want the power stopped for good.

Homelessness is caused by complex social issues which cannot be solved by criminal sanctions.

Let's build a fairer more respectful society

  • Scrap the Vagrancy Act.
  • Stop the use of Public Spaces Protection Orders.

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