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Parks Police Powers- Vagrancy Act

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#1 OFFLINE   Crucible


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Posted Yesterday, 10:33 AM

I was just bored and was reading up on parks legislation. Much of the legislation is 'circular', in that in refers to other pieces of legislation that they clarify, substitute or extend other bits of legislation. This confusion creates some quirky nuances and these obscure laws interest me.

Anyhow, I found something that suggests that Parks Police can enforce some provisions of the Vagrancy.

Let's recap on their powers... Under the London Parks Order 1969 they can enforce byelaws and "any enactment relating to parks and open spaces under their control". The latter bit is often overlooked. An 'enactment' can mean a specific section of a specific Act.

The Public Health Amendments Act 1907 (Section 81) states that a park shall for the purposes of the Vagrancy Act 1824 be deemed to be an "open and public space". It also allows provides this provision in relation to any Act that amends the Vagrancy Act.

Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1924 is still in force. It contains the following provisions that relate to parks and would therefore could be considered an 'enactment' for the purposes of Parks Police powers.

Vagrancy Act 1824- Section 4 (extract)


"every suspected person or reputed thief, frequenting any river, canal, or navigable stream, dock, or basin, or any quay, wharf, or warehouse near or adjoining thereto, or any street, highway, or avenue leading thereto, or any place of public resort, or any avenue leading thereto, or any street, [F9or any highway or any place adjacent to a street or highway;] with intent to commit [F10an arrestable offence]]"

This power would theoretically enable Parks Police to utilise the provisions of stop and search for people whom they suspect to be going equipped or in relation to weapons carried for use in a robbery. The crux of it is that they need reasonable suspicion that the person has the intent to commit an indictable offence. The substantive offence wouldn't be under the Theft Act, as they have no jurisdiction. However, it would be under the Vagrancy Act under which they do. Therefore, relevant search powers apply.

What's also interesting is that this covers any road or avenue leading to such a park, which suggests that these powers can be exercised within the vicinity of the park.


"every person wilfully openly, lewdly, and obscenely exposing his person [F5in any street, road, or public highway, or in the view thereof, or in any place of public resort,] with intent to insult any female"

This was repealed by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and replaced with the offence of exposure. Therefore, this would fall into the remit of being an offence that Parks Police can enforce.

Any thoughts?

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