Is homelessness about to become a crime?

Homelessness could become a crime under proposed anti-social behaviour laws, according to a new think-tank report.

Rough sleeper

Homelessness could become a crime under proposed anti-social behaviour laws, according to a new think-tank report.

The new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing bill includes powers to ban certain activities from designated areas – and The Manifesto Club think-tank claims new powers are wide open to exploitation by the authorities.

“There is widespread evidence of the over-use of existing powers, which are already too broad and have been employed unjustly to interfere with law-abiding individuals,” Josie Appleton, Manifesto Club director, said.

 “The danger posed by these new powers is substantially greater.”

“Local authorities have made recent attempts to ban activities including: rough sleeping (Westminster), spitting (Enfield, and several others), begging (Aberdeen), charity advertisers (Islington), smoking in parks (Blackpool and others). It is likely that these much broader new powers will be used for initiatives of this nature,” she added.

As currently drafted, the Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) could be used by councils for actions including: banning spitting, banning homeless or young people from parks, banning begging or rough sleeping, banning smoking in outdoor public places.

The orders may also target particular groups, the think-tank warns, raising the possibility of discrimination.

11 Responses to “Is homelessness about to become a crime?”

  1. Dayne Salt

    Being homeless is already essentially illegal. Try rough sleeping in any major town and see how long it is before a police officer wakes you up and threatens to arrest you under the Vagrancy Act 1824.

  2. Celia Lawton-Livingstone

    At least you’d get a roof, bed and 3 square meals a day so bring it on ‘cos it’ll cost these ConDem pratts a pretty packet the way things are going!

  3. Sasson Hann

    Well if they want to ban homelessness, why not stop the mass closure of hostels that is occurring across the country? These poor people can’t win can they?

    Ah well, if they get arrested at least they’ll get a meal and a safer place to sleep; that said, they’ll probably just do like the police in the U.S., and continually keep them moving on day and night. They aren’t even allowed to sit on a park bench in some states over there. One homeless pregnant woman who the police hounded to keep walking lost her baby as a result.

    Yes, it’s all about ‘compassionate conservativism’ didn’t you know?

  4. Sam

    Why is this website not shareable, it’s a complete pain in the ass. No twitter, facebook etc share buttons. Sort it out, get into the 21st century ffs.

  5. Andrew

    never heard of copy and paste get with it newbie

  6. gollikat

    You have no idea what you are talking about. YES! It is Compassionate Conservatism you idiot Lib! Conservatives give more and do more for the poor than Libs every single year! Examine your socialist ideas.

  7. nut

    you are a fool. wake up

  8. janlog

    Please site your sources for such a sweeping generalisation, or is it just your strong opinion?

    In this country our Conservatives are so compassionate they are known even by themselves as the “Nasty Party” that needed re-branding before the last election – and even then they couldn’t win a majority.
    And here’s a heads up – they’ll be out come the next election because they are doing such a poor job AND they have abandoned all pretence at compassion.

  9. Simon Saunders

    No they don’t. You might want to try “Who Really Gives? Partisanship and Charitable Giving in the United States,” an MIT study on the subject, which found that the only difference is where the money goes, not how much is spent. Conservatives tend to give to church causes, liberals and leftists (they’re different things) to secular bodies.

  10. ratso

    UGLY STUFF! Examine your conscience or are you just trolling for reaction?

  11. Mary Jackson

    It is easy to justify banning homelessness. It just needs the government to build enough homes for everyone to have one then homelessness can really be banned

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