Stop Windsor council removing rough sleepers before royal wedding
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The council leader for Windsor is demanding police use legal powers to clear the area of homeless people by 19 May.
Coincidentally this is the date set for the royal wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle at St George’s chapel at Windsor Castle.
The councillor sites homelessness as a security risk, simultaneously conflating begging and rough sleeping.
Asking for anti-social behavioral powers to be brought into effect, in a letter to the force’s police and crime commissioner, he writes:
“Our residents, businesses and visitors rightly assume that TVP (Thames Valley Police) will take immediate action, as this is a significant security concern, especially given the national importance of Windsor.
“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.
“The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light. As leader of the royal borough this situation is totally unacceptable to me and my fellow councillors.”
The councillor in questions name is not mentioned here, as this is not a political debate. It also actually goes against the philanthropic ethos of the couple whose wedding is being celebrated!
I'm calling for this demand on the local police force to be withdrawn, and for people who are homeless not to be removed. Instead the council and local authorities should offer a suitable long-term solution for these people, including safe and secure accommodation and health advice and support.
Please join me.
Go on, do it for Harry and Meghan! :)
In the interests of complete transparency and fairness to all parties, please find the counciller's original open letter to the TVP here.
- Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead council leader
Dear Mr Dudley,
My mum grew up and went to school in your constituency, so I know first hand what a lovely part of the world it is. You should certainly be very proud to be council leader of such a special and historically significant place.
I'm hoping with this petition, that you might see another side to your argument that has recently caused so much furore in the news.
I understand that you have concerns about the safety of the local people in your area - as indeed any decent council member should be thinking of! However, I believe this is misplaced and even somewhat undermined by the final sentence in the selected paragraph of your open letter to the Thames Valley Police, quoted below:
"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. The whole situation also presents a beautiful town in a sadly unfavourable light."
I'm sure you'll agree that supporting the most vulnerable in our society ought to lie with all of us and it is always more useful to try and address the cause than to brush the symptoms under the carpet. After all, making a problem invisible doesn’t make it go away.
I'm afraid that you have gravely misjudged the national mood if you believe there is a public appetite for such a heavy-handed approach. I also don't believe that this is in any way in the spirit of the two evidently compassionate people who are set to be getting married on May 19th 2018.
I therefore ask you to please show kind-heartedness as the public figure ultimately responsible for the welfare of these people and to lead by example and find a more benevolent solution.
I eagerly anticipate your response and fully trust that you won't disappoint us. I look forward to hearing the outcome to the issue at hand, remembering that homelessness could happen to any one of us at any time.
The British public
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