Skip to main content

The modern return of Vagrancy Law

by Joe Hermer

The crime of 'being suspicious' seems to be making a return as the state seems ever more keen to police the poor and vulnerable. The recent case of 'stolen food' from Iceland is a perfect example.

The abandoned prosecution against three men for ‘skipping’ food from an Iceland grocery bin in North London last month caused public outrage and disbelief. A recurring feature of this story was that the men were charged under an ‘archaic’ and ‘obscure’ section of the Vagrancy Act 1824. The impression left by the media was that the current vagrancy law is a rarely used relic of Victorian times.

To present vagrancy law today to as ‘archaic’ and quaint statute makes invisible one of the most important but least understood police powers concerning poor people. In a series of complex maneuvers embedded within the leviathan like reforms to fight crime and disorder, the powers of the 1824 Vagrancy Act have been resuscitated in a way that has not been seen for more than a century. Indeed, the 1824 Vagrancy law has been re-purposed over the last decade as a truly modern tool to police poor, vulnerable and ‘suspicious’ people in public spaces.

Read on...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security
"3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​
A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats.
The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions...."

They May Cause Harm

by digby



Here's a great article on the use of tasers and what's becoming an important part of the debate --- the fact that they are killing people with them:

On a balmy fall night, two police officers in a squad car in east Bradenton spotted a man on a bicycle without a headlight.

Derrick Humbert, 38, rode a bike around town because seizures from a head injury prevented him from driving. He worked odd jobs as a short-order cook and gardener. He took care of his three kids, 2, 8 and 11, while their mother worked the evening shift at a 7-Eleven.

On this Monday in late September, he was riding home from a convenience store just after midnight when police told him to stop.

Instead, he pedaled around a corner past three houses, jumped off the bike and ran into a yard, the two officers chasing him on foot.

Read on...

The Way of The Gun

Iconic characters from crime fiction's most popular writers reflect on their tools of the trade.



JOE PIKE, BusinessmanGUN: KIMBER CUSTOM II MODEL 1911 .45 ACP“The best semiautomatic combat pistol made. The lowered ejector port, full-length guide rail, beveled magazine well and superb tolerances give outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy and reliability. The big .45 ACP bullet is heavy and slow, but that’s what you want. A lighter, faster bullet will punch through a man, carrying its energy with it. A .45 hollowpoint flattens and dumps its energy into the target like a truck T-boning a Prius. You don’t need to double-tap with the .45. One shot will knock a big man off his feet. LAPD SWAT uses the Kimber. USMC Special Operations Command (Force Recon) uses it. I use it. That’s all you need to know.”WRITER: ROBERT CRAISRead on...