The biggest royal wedding since William and Catherine’s is just under five months away now. And it seems one Windsor politician is keen to ensure that the city is ‘prepared’ for Harry and Meghan’s nuptials on 19th May.
Councillor Simon Dudley, the Conservative leader for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, has written a letter to local police to urge them to clear the streets of “aggressive begging and intimidation” from homeless people, ahead of the couple’s big day at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
On 27th December, he posted a tweet, stating, ‘Sadly there is an epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy in #Windsor @RBWM. I will be writing to @StansfeldPCC copying @TVP_Chief @Bhupinderrai70 at @ThamesVP @TVP_Windsor asking for them to focus on dealing with this before the #RoyalWedding’
Reportedly, the letter to Thames Valley Police states Dudley’s belief that homeless people on Windsor’s streets “presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light”.
The Conservative party member also condemned the “bags and detritus” from rough sleepers of the streets of the city as a security concern.
He said, “the quantities of bags and detritus that those begging are accumulating and leaving on our pavements, at times unattended … this is a significant security concern, especially given the national importance of Windsor.”
He went on to state his belief that homeless people in Windsor are often not homeless at all, but are making a “voluntary decision” to beg on the streets.
Dudley claimed, “a large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless, and if they are homeless they are choosing to reject all support services to beg on the streets of Windsor.
“In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice.”
Dudley’s letter was penned to the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley Police, Anthony Stansfeld.
But according to Stansfeld, he has not yet received the letter, despite it being released publically.
However, he did respond to the issues raised, stating, “Supporting the vulnerable, including the homeless, is a priority within my Police and Crime Plan and I have previously provided funding to homeless shelters in Berkshire.”
Some have however condemned Councillor Dudley’s words, including Murphy James, who heads up Windsor Homeless Project. He called the Conservative MP’s words “abhorrent”.
“It’s absolutely abhorrent that anybody has got these views in this day and age, especially a lead councillor of the borough.
“If somebody is sleeping out on the street they are not there by choice, they are there because something has gone wrong.”
The issue is also poignant in the case of the royals, particularly Harry and William, who have famously carried on their mother’s much-praised work with the homelessness charity Centrepoint.
While Prince William is now patron of the charity Princess Diana brought to prominence, Harry has visited many Centrepoint services in the past, in order to support homeless people.