Should we be worrying about a further assault on squatting rights?

On the 8th May the Evening Standard carried an article titled “Squatters law has wiped out almost all illegal home invasions in London” pointing out that less people were arrested for squatting in residential properties last year than when S144 first came in (what a surprise!).

On the 11th May some Tory MP called Philip Davies wrote to the Secretary of State for Justice [sic] to ask “what assessment he has made of changes in the prevalence of squatting in commercial premises following the introduction of the criminal provisions contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012” (to which the answer was that no data is collected).

Neither of these is unusual, but as the last attack (leading to S144) started with attacks from the “Standard” and some Tory MP, we should be prepared for an upsurge in attacks and for calls for full criminalisation.

But this time round, thanks to the Sofia House squat, other occupations, the Grenfell Tower disaster and other events, squatting, and generally requisitioning empty properties should be more easy to defend/push for. And we seem to have a leader of the opposition who would hopefully be less pliant.