We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Use of Vagrancy Act in Warwickshire should shame the Govt

March 4, 2019 6:51 PM
By Rugby Lib Dems

Warwickshire CC OfficesA Freedom of Information request has shown that 6,518 'offenders' were found guilty under the Vagrancy Act between the years 2014 to 2017 in England and Wales including 32 in Warwickshire.


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.

The Vagrancy Act criminalises people for sleeping rough, deeming them "rogues and vagabonds". It was drafted in 1824 with soldiers coming home from the Napoleonic Wars in mind.

Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran, is leading the campaign for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped.


Commenting on the findings, Councillor Jerry Roodhouse (Paddox and Eastlands), 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 frequently with little regard for the people affected. This law has no place in a modern, compassionate society. I hope everyone will join the Liberal Democrats campaign and support our calls for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped."

ENDS

Notes to editors

Offenders found guilty at all courts of offences under the Vagrancy Act 1824 (1) by police force area, England and Wales, 2014-2017 (2)(3)

Police force area

2014

2015

2016

2017

Gloucestershire

3

2

3

.

Surrey

12

3

1

-

City of London

-

-

-

-

Metropolitan Police (4)

671

466

481

218

West Midlands

272

158

133

83

Merseyside

162

183

165

82

Greater Manchester

182

128

56

75

Nottinghamshire

20

66

69

53

Northumbria

100

126

34

49

Derbyshire

52

31

21

43

Cheshire

63

45

34

40

Lancashire

51

38

41

35

Cleveland

37

10

29

33

Norfolk

20

12

13

28

West Yorkshire

47

31

31

26

Thames Valley

49

39

28

24

Lincolnshire

16

21

19

23

South Wales

43

47

24

23

West Mercia

21

20

10

21

Avon and Somerset

46

20

11

19

Cambridgeshire

55

30

24

18

South Yorkshire

30

46

46

17

Warwickshire

4

6

8

14

Humberside

35

18

24

11

Devon and Cornwall

7

14

13

9

Gwent

15

14

11

9

North Wales

10

13

17

8

Hertfordshire

14

12

15

7

Kent

8

12

7

7

Hampshire

52

27

12

6

Sussex

28

40

7

6

Durham

8

9

7

5

Staffordshire

7

5

4

5

Cumbria

5

2

2

4

Leicestershire

8

11

10

4

Essex

12

6

6

4

North Yorkshire

17

12

5

3

Northamptonshire

4

7

1

3

Dorset

40

8

18

3

Bedfordshire

7

4

4

2

Wiltshire

13

5

9

2

Suffolk

34

11

2

1

Dyfed Powys

.

.

.

2

Total (ALL)

2,280

1,758

1,455

1,025

' - ' = Nil

(1) Includes Sections 3 and 4 of Vagrancy Act 1824

(2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(4) Metropolitan Police includes City of London

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.