William Eichler 04 January 2018

Windsor leader calls for ‘crack down’ on homeless before royal wedding

The leader of Windsor and Maidenhead council has become embroiled in controversy after publishing an open letter calling on the police to crack down on begging ahead of the royal wedding.

Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, wrote to the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the Thames Valley requesting he do more to tackle ‘aggressive begging and intimidation’ by homeless people.

The Conservative councillor wrote that there was ‘growing concern amongst residents, businesses and visitors’ about the number of homeless people on the streets of Windsor. The increase in people begging was creating a ‘hostile atmosphere’ that presented ‘a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light’, he said.

He emphasised this was particularly a problem given the upcoming royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May.

‘Obviously, the level of tourist interest is set to multiply with the Royal Wedding in May 2018, and there are increased concerns from our residents about their safety,’ Cllr Dudley wrote.

‘As Leader of the Royal Borough this situation is totally unacceptable to me and my fellow councillors.’

The council leader argued that a large number of the people begging in Windsor do it as a ‘voluntary choice’ - a controversial suggestion given the country, and especially London, is currently facing an acute housing crisis.

‘Our work on the SWEP [Severe Weather Emergency Protocol] has provided us with the evidence that 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,’ he wrote to PCC Anthony Stansfeld.

‘In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice.’

Cllr Dudley rejected the idea the council could use a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to address Windsor’s begging problem. New Home Office guidance on the use of PSPOs meant they were ‘not the appropriate option given the circumstances’, he wrote.

He also noted there was not enough time before the royal wedding to implement the powers, which are provided under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are designed to prevent anti-social behaviour in public.

Instead, he insisted the Thames Valley Police (TVP) enforce current laws on vagrancy (The Vagrancy Act 1824) or implement Criminal Behaviour Orders under powers granted by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

After reminding Mr Stansfield of the threat of terrorism, Cllr Dudley concluded his letter with a plea for extra support from the TVP.

‘I believe that there is a clear case of Windsor needing to be considered separately and more visibly by TVP because of the special context and security profile of the town,’ he wrote.

‘I request that you give immediate attention to the issues facing Windsor, and ensure all necessary financial and human resources necessary to protect our local residents, businesses and visitors.’

After registering his surprise that Cllr Dudley’s letter was issued publicly rather than sent directly to him, Mr Stansfeld responded that these issues — begging and terrorism — had not been raised at his last meeting with Windsor and Maidenhead in October.

The PCC said he would respond to the councillor once he had received the letter.

Regenerating public realm for climate change image

Regenerating public realm for climate change

The regeneration of White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London has shown has permeable paving and street trees should can help address climate change while delivering SuDS. Chris Hodson reports.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Interim Director of Adult Social Services

Tile Hill
Negotiable day rate
We are currently supporting our local authority client in their search for an interim DASS South East England
Recuriter: Tile Hill

Communications and Engagement Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£38385 - £41586 per annum
Communications and Engagement Officer - Internal Communications£38,385 to £41,586 (annual pay award pending)Permanent / full-timeWe're looking for an England, London
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Assistant Director (IT and Digital)

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Our Vision 2024 is centred round Calderdale as the place. Halifax, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Project Search Employment Coach

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
The Project Search Employment Coach will provide daily job coaching support to interns. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Project Search Employment Coach

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
The Project Search Employment Coach will provide daily job coaching support. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.