From John Pearson
I was in Manchester on Saturday for a conference at the Cross Street Chapel. I crossed the road to get a sandwich at Greggs and I passed a young woman, of south eastern European appearance, sitting on the pavement begging.
I thought, I'll give her some silver out of my change when I come back. When I returned she was being confronted by a police constable and a PCSO. As I reached out to put 60p in her begging cup, the PC whipped the cup away saying, 'You won't be needing that'. The young lady was then ordered to move on.
I – and another passer-by – made known our discontent to the two law officers and appealed for some humanity to be shown to homeless persons. 'You shouldn't be giving them money for drugs' was the retort we got.
I asked the PC what law she was acting under. She replied, 'The 1824 Vagrancy Act'.
Here it is in the Government's online repository of active legislation. Note the short description :
"An Act for the Punishment of idle and disorderly Persons, and Rogues and Vagabonds, in England".
I become more and more embarrassed, the more the true nature of 21st century England is exposed now that we have social media. We do not live in a modern democracy. This has to change!
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