The Conservative Council leader in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has ordered police to forcibly remove all homeless people to improve the area’s image in time for the royal wedding in May.
Simon Dudley, the Royal Borough’s Tory Council Chairman, demanded the action in a letter to Thames Valley Police in which he complains about the ‘bags and detritus’ of homeless people presenting ‘a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light.’
In the letter, which was addressed to Anthony Stansfield, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, Tory Council leader Mr Dudley says that ‘Homelessness is completely unacceptable in a compassionate community such as ours’, and goes on to claim that ‘a large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless’.
The letter to Thames Valley Police follows several tweets on the subject in which the Tory Council leader describes an ‘epidemic of rough sleeping and vagrancy‘ in Windsor.
In a separate tweet posted whilst he was on a skiing holiday in Wyoming, the heartless Tory Council Chairman also claimed that some of those on the streets of Windsor have made a ‘life choice‘ to be homeless.
Dudley went on to claim that homeless people in the area were:
marching tourists to cash points to withdraw cash, hanging out near car park ticket machines to get discounts and ask tourists for money
However, replying on Twitter, Thames Valley Police quashed the Tory Council leader’s claims, saying:
We deal with reports of begging proportionately but we have not had reports of anyone being marched to cashpoints to take out money.
Dudley responded by saying the issue was ‘voluntary homelessness’, and the leader of Windsor Council then went on to shirk any responsibility for the crisis, telling Thames Valley Police that ‘It is time for you to deal with this issue.‘
Speaking to The Guardian, Independent Councillor Wisdom Da Costa said that homelessness in the area had become ‘more visible and more persistent’ over the past years, and rather than praise the Council for providing solutions, Da Costa said that he had been ‘delighted by the response of hundreds of people in Windsor who have provided food and blankets, who care about these people and want decent solutions’.
Also speaking to The Guardian, 18-year-old Windsor resident Same White – who has lived in the area for his entire life – said that whilst working at the box office of the Theatre Royal he had gotten to know many of the homeless people in the town centre going on to say that:
There are quite a few now. If you walk down the High Street, you might see six or seven, but there are obviously more hidden away
White went on to defend those who have been forced onto the streets of Windsor by saying:
They don’t cause a threat to anyone. I’ve never seen any of them being aggressive. Obviously some have issues like drug addiction, but they’re nice people at the absolutely lowest point in their lives.
White finished by slamming the Council’s response to the crisis, by saying:
I’m sure if the council offered homeless people food and shelter for the day, they would agree to take themselves off the streets.
The royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is due to take place at St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19th, and tens of thousands of tourists are predicting to descend on the area for the event.
And, by demanding that police remove homeless people in time for the wedding, it is obvious that rather than aiming to deal with the underlying causes of extreme poverty, the Tory Council are merely trying to shift the problem elsewhere to make things appear better to the wider world.
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