7 June 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping
  • OECD inflation prediction: This is a damning verdict on the Government’s economic record
  • Bike theft faces being ‘decriminalised’ as nearly 9 in 10 thefts go unsolved
  • Johnson “hosted friend” at Chequers: Public sick of subsidising ex-PM’s legal fund

Police using 200-year old legislation to arrest hundreds of children for rough sleeping

Data uncovered by Layla Moran and the Liberal Democrats through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that police forces across the country have arrested 433 children over the last 5 years using the Vagrancy Act.

The FOI asked police forces how many under 18’s had been arrested and charged under the Vagrancy Act over the last 5 years.

Of the 43 forces in the UK, 20 had arrested children. The worst offender was the Metropolitan Police Force in London, which has arrested 152 children in the last 5 years.

One police force, Derbyshire, arrested a 13 year old.

The Vagrancy Act is a piece of 200-year-old legislation which makes it a criminal offence to sleep rough.

In 2022 campaigners succeeded in repealing the legislation in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but the repeal is yet to come into force in practice. The government claim they need “appropriate replacement legislation” before the repeal comes into force. A public consultation into replacement measures closed in May 2022, but the findings have not yet been published.

Responding to the findings Layla Moran MP said:

This is a truly shocking revelation. It is heart-breaking that vulnerable young people are being arrested with this cruel legislation created after the Battle of Waterloo.

Every day that the Vagrancy Act remains on the statute books, young people are under the threat of arrest simply because they don’t have a place to sleep. This archaic, Dickensian legislation should have been consigned to history long ago.

It is time for the government to make good on their promise, repeal the Vagrancy Act, and treat rough sleepers with compassion, rather than criminalisation.

OECD inflation prediction: This is a damning verdict on the Government’s economic record

Responding to the OECD’s prediction that Britain will have the highest inflation of any leading economy in 2023 and may miss its target to halve inflation, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Sarah Olney MP said:

This is a damning verdict on the Government’s economic record. Jeremy Hunt is the latest Conservative Chancellor to fail miserably at tackling the cost of living crisis.

The Government was painfully slow to act on energy bills last year, and now looks asleep at the wheel on rising food prices. They refuse to learn their lesson.

If the Government misses their own inflation target this year, then its hard to see why Jeremy Hunt should remain as Chancellor.

The British people need economic competence and a plan to bring prices down, yet so far we’ve seen none of that from this Government. It is time for action on the cost of living crisis, starting with a plan to bring down food bills.

Bike theft faces being ‘decriminalised’ as nearly 9 in 10 thefts go unsolved

New analysis commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed that in 2022, 65,809 bike theft cases across England and Wales were closed without a suspect being identified – a shocking 89% of total reported cases.

Meanwhile, the Home Office statistics show only 1,245 bike thefts reported last year resulted in a suspect being charged or summonsed – just 1.7% (1,245) of the total 73,979 cases recorded.

9 police forces across England and Wales saw over 9 in 10 (90%) of bike thefts go unsolved. The worst performing areas with the highest number of unsolved bike thefts were Sussex (95.8%), the Met Police (93.7%), the West Midlands (93.2%) and Hampshire (92.8).

The Liberal Democrats warned these figures showed the Government are effectively ‘decriminalising’ bike theft, letting criminals off the hook for the robbery of thousands of pounds worth of property.

The party has accused the Conservative Government of neglecting neighbourhood policing. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers have also plummeted under the Conservative Party’s watch, with over 4,000 PCSOs being taken off the streets since 2015.

Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible and trusted, with the time to focus on tackling local crime.

Commenting on the figures, Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney who commissioned the research said:

Theft is such a personal and terrible crime. To see so many go unsolved across our communities is a tragedy.

These figures show the Government is effectively decriminalising bike theft in our local communities – and ministers in Westminster seem content to let it continue.

We need to see a return to proper community policing, making our streets safer and ending this free-for-all for criminals.

Johnson “hosted friend” at Chequers: Public sick of subsidising ex-PM’s legal fund

Responding to the latest reports in the Guardian that Boris Johnson hosted a close friend overnight at Chequers when Covid restrictions were in place, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper said:

The public are sick of subsidising an ex-Prime Minister, especially one who once again appears to have shown complete disregard for the rules they had to follow.

We’re all left wondering what more it will take for Rishi Sunak to finally scrap Johnson’s taxpayer-funded legal bill.

Almost every day of this government brings more stories of Conservative sleaze and scandal, all whilst the problems facing the country get worse and worse.

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8 Comments

  • Times today comments re expected by election Mid Beds in the Autumn, that it could be in danger of Labour gets a big enough swing! No reference to ourselves, I hope the Press Office has got onto this. In the meantime I have sent the following submission to the Editor:-
    “Hi,
    You talk of a possible Labour swing.
    With the very greatest respect surely the seat will be a contest between the Conservative and Lib Dem candidates.
    A glance at recent by elections demonstrates this:
    Lib Dem gains at North Shropshire and Tiverton and Honiton.
    If we compare 2019 General election voting in the seats this is clearly shown,
    2019, in percentage terms
    Mid beds Con 51.8, Labour 21.7, Lib Dem 12.6, Green 3.8
    North Shropshire Con 62.7, Lab 22.1, Lib Dem 10
    Tiverton and Honiton: Con 60.2, Lab 19.5, Lib Dem 14.8
    At both North Shropshire and Tiverton there were Lib Dem majorities over over 6,000!!
    The Central Bedfordshire local elections this May gave Lib Dems 10 seats,(7 gains) and Labour 6 (3 gains).
    It seems clear who the real main challenger is. Could you kindly run some sort of correction, review etc

  • @ theakes For nearly a year now (since the Johnson de-fenestration) it’s been rumoured Ms Dorries was due to get a peerage in the said dissolute PM’s dissolution Honours List. Two problems you fail to mention in your bugle call to arms rebuttal to The Times,

    1. The Johnson list has yet to be confirmed. There are reported difficulties about it getting through scrutiny given the nature of its contents.

    2. Have the Mid-Beds Lib Dems even got a candidate ? According to Mark Pack’s adopted PPC list last month they have yet to do so.

  • David:
    If all goes as expected a probable by Election will be in October, plenty of time to get the right local candidate. According to Bedford area contacts the party started some campaigning there late last year when it looked as if there could be a by election in December or February.
    In the meantime we have a very difficult by election to defend in St Albans on Tuesday.

  • Nadine has stood down as MP, hey ho the by election could be next month, all hands to the pump from tomorrow!

  • If I were the Government I would ussie the writ next Tuesday for an election on July 20th.

  • It is easy to assume the police were being draconian, however, It would be interesting to find out the Police’s motivation for using the Vagrancy Act; I wonder if it is the only way the police can remove a vulnerable young person for the streets and get them a “safe” bed and food for the night.

  • Helen Dudden 11th Jun '23 - 10:52am

    Roland was there mo explanation why it was used. With child abuse on the increase both issues need solving.

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