WINDSOR and Maidenhead council have made it a crime to be homeless, issuing fines of £100 criminalising destitute people in an attempt to drive them off the streets before the royal wedding.
When the council first announced plans to get the police to drive the homeless and the poor off the streets of ‘royal Windsor’ there was outrage across the nation.
Head of the Tory council, Simon Dudley, said that this must be done so that the homeless did not ‘lower the tone of the royal wedding’ and put Windsor in a ‘sadly unfavourable light’.
A vote of no confidence was put last month to kick Dudley out. When he narrowly survived the vote three Tory councillors, Paul Brimacombe, Asghar Majeed and Geoffrey Hill, immediately resigned.
However, this has not deterred Dudley from proceeding and the council have now announced that anyone who leaves bedding and belongings ‘unattended’ on its streets, will be fined and banned from the area. Windsor and Maidenhead Council is proposing to increase fines for ‘anti-social behaviour’ to £100. It says it hopes the ‘robust strategy’ will reduce rough sleepers by 50% by the end of March. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will marry at Windsor Castle on 19 May.
Plans put forward for a new public space protection order (PSPO) by the council include banning people from making ‘any verbal, non-verbal or written requests for money, including the placing of hats and containers’. The council proposals add that ‘no person shall, for any duration of time, leave unattended in a public area any bedding, belongings, personal effects or any other material or paraphernalia’.
Murphy James, from Windsor Homeless Project, questioned how ‘fining somebody who quite evidently has no money’ would solve the problem. He added: ‘Criminalise real criminals, not those that are forced into a situation by circumstance and left to survive. That is quite simply inhumane.’