Saturday, 21 May 2016

Squatting Statistics 2015 – Squash Campaign #olsx #housingcrisis #homelessness #squatting #deathsonourstreets #respace #recycle #empties #homes4all

Squatting Statistics 2015 – Squash Campaign

Squatting Statistics 2015

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.
[Note: Page contains Google Analytics code for us to track hits]

Arrests & Disposals

  • Arrests: There were at least 148 arrests under s144 LASPOA in 2015. This brings the total confirmed arrests to date to 736 people since 2012;
  • Charged: The percentage of those charged with the offence was 64% of arrested in 2015 (94), and half of those charged were remanded in custody before their court hearing;
  • Arrest Targets: Arrests for section 144 have been averaging around 160 arrests per year. This suggests an annual arrest target for this offence.


  • Displaced Residents: When asked, no police force was able to cite a single case of a displaced residential occupier for a squatting arrest, a principle reason for introducing the offence in 2011;
  • Backup Offence: Squatters are arrested for a number of alternative offences (eg Criminal Damage, Burglary), and section 144 is often used as a secondary offence when the more serious offences can’t be successfully prosecuted;
  • Prosecutions: Prosecutions of section 144 offences has been rising year on year since 2012, and is currently averaging around 13 prosecutions a month, up from 10 in 2014-15. This brings the total number of section 144 prosecutions brought for a first hearing at a Magistrates court since 2012 to 326;
  • Convictions: There is too little information to gauge the true number of those convicted for section 144 and their sentences. The number of known convictions stands at around 60 since 2012.


  • Fast-track evictions, using Interim Possession Orders and High Court Bailiffs, are increasing and becoming more common;
  • Illegal evictions by landlords, the police and security firms continue, as it is widely believed that section 144 criminalises all squatting, and that squatters are de facto “criminals”;
  • Length of Occupation: Squats now last little more than 3 weeks in general, three months at most. This is in sharp contrast to pre-2012 lengths of occupation, of between 6 months to a year.

Criminalising the Homeless & Market Effects

  • Rising Homelessness: more 18-34 year olds are being made homeless through private and social housing evictions, and it is estimated there were 83,000 young homeless in 2015;
  • Rising Rough Sleeping: rough sleeping number have risen dramatically since 2010/11, due in part to the implementation of section 144, and at least 194 rough sleepers died in London in 2015;
  • Underreporting and Criminalisation: the government’s response to rising homelessness has been to underreport and criminalise those sleeping rough, eg Operation Encompass;
  • Rising House Prices: links between aggressive enforcement of homeless criminalisation and rising house prices can be seen in London and other parts of England;
  • Legislative Subsidy: section 144, among others, acts as a public subsidy for private landlords and speculators, enabling them are to leave homes empty and fast-track evictions.

“Squatting Statistics 2015” Report can be found here:

Squatting Statistics 2015 – Policy Brief (2 Pages) – PDF, 516KB

Squatting Statistics 2015 – Full Report (28 Pages) – PDF, 1,208KB

Squatting Statistics 2015 – Press Release (19 May 2016)

No comments:

Post a Comment