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Vagrancy Arrests (406/17)


I am requesting the following information under the Freedom of Information Act:

  1. The number of arrests and prosecutions under section 3 of the 1824 Vagrancy Act for each calendar year from 2010 to 2016 inclusively, with the data broken down by year.

I am not seeking information on the prostitution and indecency clauses of Section 3; accordingly, the police force should use the following Section 3 offences if possible:

  • Wandering abroad to beg or gather alms
  • Placing self in public place to beg
  • Procuring child to beg
  • Person other than prostitute being idle and disorderly
  • Causing child to beg
  • Sleeping out
  • Lodging in barn outhouse deserted or unoccupied building or open air etc
  • Being found on enclosed premises for unlawful purpose
  • Collecting alms or endeavouring to procure charitable contribution by false pretence
  • Professing to tell fortunes
  • Wandering abroad and exposing wound or deformity to obtain alms
  • Persistently beg



Please find attached our response.  Please note:  We do not hold prosecution data, this held by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, therefore we have provided arrests by outcome, eg charged, cautioned, etc.

Please note that these data should be interpreted with caution. Comparing numbers of incidents/crimes can be misleading and does not necessarily indicate the likelihood of someone being a victim of crime. In addition, the number of incidents/crimes recorded in an area over a period of time can be influenced by a number of factors. Consequently statistics on incidents/crimes for one period may not necessarily be a good indicator of future incidents in that area.

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from a number of data sources used by forces for police purposes. The detail collected to respond specifically to your request is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when interpreting those data.

The figures provided therefore are our best interpretation of relevance of data to your request, but you should be aware that the collation of figures for ad hoc requests may have limitations and this should be taken into account when those data are used.

If you decide to write an article / use the enclosed data we would ask you to take into consideration the factors highlighted in this document so as to not mislead members of the public or official bodies, or misrepresent the relevance of the whole or any part of this disclosed material.