Beggars and rough sleepers arrested in the UK

Police forces have criticised the Vagrancy Act, which allows beggars and rough sleepers to be arrested, as the BBC reports that the number of arrests made under the Act have halved over the last two years. West Midlands Police said it had “consciously” moved away from using the Act in favour of more “meaningful solutions,” with Supt Ian Green describing the Act as an “archaic piece of legislation” that often “ends with people being given fines they can’t afford to pay or being sent to prison, which only exacerbates their problems,” while London’s Metropolitan Police said it was using “alternative means” to deal with beggars and rough sleepers, and Merseyside Police said it “cannot enforce our way out of a problem,” and that it was working more with charities and outreach workers. Nationally, arrests under the Act have fallen from 2,220 in 2015/16 to 1,127 in 2017/18.

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