Recognising hidden homelessness (Supplementary) [1]

Session date: 
December 14, 2017
Question By: 
Peter Whittle
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Peter Whittle AM:  Mr Mayor, just carrying on from Assembly Member Berry’s point there about homelessness, I would very much like to know your view on this.  One thing that has become clear to me from being on the Police and Crime Committee is that rough sleeping, which is a big part of homelessness, comes under the definition of antisocial behaviour, would you believe.  It seems to me that this is not an antisocial problem; it is a social problem.  Do you think that there is an anomaly there that it actually comes under the same list as - I do not know - public nuisance, drug-dealing or whatever it is in public, and that homeless people are brought into that category?


Answer for Recognising hidden homelessness (Supplementary) [1]

Answer for Recognising hidden homelessness (Supplementary) [1]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I would be very surprised if the police were taking action against rough sleepers for committing criminal offences as you suggest.


Peter Whittle AM:  No, when we have studied antisocial behaviour, rough sleeping comes under that.  It is an anomaly that comes from the Vagrancy Act from years ago.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I beg your pardon?


Peter Whittle AM:  It seems to me that it is a completely wrong categorisation of something which is a social problem, not an antisocial one.


Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You are absolutely right.  Without talking too much about the importance of Christmas and what it is all about, particularly at this time of year we should remember that this is a social problem.  It is decades of failure by people in our profession, politicians.  It can be turned around.  We have shown in the past that we can end rough sleeping and homelessness.  Working together, central Government, the Mayor, the Assembly and local authorities, with charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), we can end rough sleeping in London:  I am determined that we should do that.