Response to the Vagrancy Act Consultation, 2022

Release welcomes the opportunity to consult on the proposals being put forward by the Government, and whilst we welcome the repeal of the Vagrancy Act, we fundamentally oppose the criminalisation of people who are begging. 

Within our written response to the Vagrancy Act consultation (submitted 5th May, 2022) we outline that the need to beg is driven by homelessness, poverty and multiple health issues, including drug and alcohol dependency, and as such, the solution must be to address the underlying drivers of these issues, rather than criminalising an already marginalised and stigmatised population.

We have answered the questions posed by the consultation in an attempt to limit the worst aspects of the proposals, but ultimately, Release disagrees with the premise that the criminal law is a mechanism for tackling what are societal issues resulting from inadequate economic, social, and health policies.