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Arrests In Bristol Under the Vagrancy Act 2016/17


Please tell me how many people in Bristol in the last financial year (2016/17) have been arrested by Avon and Somerset Constabulary under the 1824 Vagrancy Act as ‘placing himself placing himself or herself in any public place, street, highway, court, or passage, to beg or gather alms’.

How many of these arrests led to charges?

Please tell me how many cases led to convictions.


A search has been completed of offences under the Vagrancy Act. We have identified eight arrests in the Bristol area. There were four charges and four convictions for these offences.

Bristol has a dedicated Streetwise team, consisting of a full-time council officer and police officer.  The team was established ten years ago to specifically tackle begging.  Its remit has since broadened to include persistent rough sleeping and street drinking.

It deals with referrals on a case by case basis to offer support whilst being clear that anti-social behaviour cannot continue. 

The approach benefits both the community and the perpetrator. Further information is available here.

FOI reference: 1051/17.

Date of request: 22.08.17.