On 1st September 2012 it became a criminal offence to be found squatting in a residential building, punishable by a fine of £5000 or six months in prison. Section 144 of the new Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was rushed through Parliament with little attention being paid to the consultation responses from various homeless charities and police, 98% of which were against the legislation.
According to a report in March this year by Squatters Action for Secure Homes (SQUASH) evaluating the first six months of the Bill, there have been 33 arrests leading to 10 convictions. Their press release summarises their findings thus:-
“The Case Against Section 144″ Press Release
For immediate release
Campaign to repeal new squatting law launched in Parliament
Entitled ‘The Case Against Section 144’, SQUASH (Squatters Action for Secure Homes) are launching a new report and campaign in Parliament today.
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