The Vagrancy Act 1824 provides the police with the power to arrest those begging or persistently begging in a public place. It is an operational matter for the police to determine when it is appropriate to make use of this power in line with their duties to keep the peace and to protect communities. The Government currently has no plans to repeal or make changes to the Act.
The Government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027. We have established a Rough Sleeping and Homelessness Reduction Taskforce that will oversee the implementation of a cross-Government strategy to achieve this, and drive wider action to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.
The Homelessness Reduction Act will come into force in April, which will significantly reform England’s homelessness safety net at a national and local level, ensuring that more people get the help they need earlier to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.
We have also allocated over £1 billion through to 2020 to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. This includes £28 million to pilot a Housing First approach in three regions of England to support rough sleepers with the most complex needs and help them to end their homelessness. We also announced £20 million for schemes that will enable better access to new private rented sector tenancies or support in sustaining tenancies for those who are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless or rough sleeping.