The link between rising homelessness and the criminalisation of squatting – May 2016
Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) has been tracking implementation of section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (s144 LASPOA) since it came into effect in September 2012. Section 144 criminalises squatting in empty residential properties, gives the police new powers, and guilt is determined by a lay magistrate, rather than a trained judge. Since 2012, there have been at least 738 arrests, 326 prosecutions and over 60 convictions for the offence. The consequence of the new law, are now starting to be felt.