British government imposes collective punishment by evicting families from public housing
5 July 2018
The British government intends to roll out nationally a scheme piloted in north London, whereby the families of gang members and violent criminals are evicted from their public housing residences.
The Conservatives are acting under laws conferred by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Under the legislation, landlords in England and Wales, including councils, can evict tenants as a result of serious and violent criminal activity.
Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, the privately educated daughter of former Conservative MP and MEP Sir Robert Atkins, became the first minister to publicly endorse the scheme, saying the government had “changed the law to enable it to happen.”
Interviewed in the Daily Telegraph, Atkins said, “In the most serious cases, with these people who are exploiting young people, making the lives of local residents a misery, putting fear into people’s hearts when they’re picking children up from the school gates, I think absolutely they should understand the consequences of their criminal behaviour.”
Nick Davies, the police commander in an area of north London in which the eviction scheme has been piloted, said the power to threaten whole families “seems to be a particularly effective strategy in changing the behaviour” of gang members. In an interview with the Sunday Times earlier this month, Davies insisted the “threshold for eviction is high.”
Neither the police nor the government offered any evidence regarding how many families have been thrown onto the streets, nor how they measured the “effectiveness” of teaching offenders the “consequences of their actions.” Neither did they…