Begging and Vagrancy: Prosecutions

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 16th September 2021.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions have been made in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Thames Valley and (d) Oxford West and Abingdon constituency under the Vagrancy Act 1824 in each calendar year since 2015.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Ministry of Justice has published information on prosecutions under the Vagrancy Act 1824, up to December 2020, in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code’ data tool, available here:

In the data tool linked above, you can use the ‘Offence code’ filter to select the offences of interest. The following is a list of offences that fall within the Vagrancy Act 1824:

  • 104/31 – Resisting or obstructing a constable in execution of duty - offences under the Vagrancy Act 1824
  • 182/00 – Wandering abroad or being in any street etc to beg or gather alms or causing or procuring any child so to do
  • 183/00 – Wandering abroad and lodging in any barn, outhouse, deserted or unoccupied building, etc. or in the open air, etc.
  • 185/01 – Being on enclosed premises for an unlawful purpose
  • 188/01 – Any petty chapman or peddler trading without a licence
  • 188/05 – Collecting alms or endeavouring to procure charitable contributions by fraudulent pretence
  • 188/99 – Offences against Vagrancy Act 1824.

To isolate data for a specific region, use the ‘Police force area’ filter to do the following:

  1. For England, select all except those in Wales (North Wales, South Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Gwent)
  2. For Wales, select only those in Wales (as above)
  3. For Thames Valley, select only ‘Thames Valley’.

We are unable to isolate individuals prosecuted in the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency as the Courts Proceedings Database uses the location of the court at which a case was dealt as a proxy for location. The nearest court to this constituency is Oxfordshire Magistrates’ Court, which has a broad catchment area including other surrounding constituencies. We are therefore unable to disaggregate individuals from Oxford West and Abingdon constituency from those from other surrounding constituencies.

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