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WINDSOR council leader Simon Dudley, who sparked outrage earlier this week for demanding police criminalise homeless people before the royal wedding, is a paid government adviser on tackling rough sleeping.
Mr Dudley receives between £10,000 - £20,000 from the public purse as a director of the Homes and Communities Agency, a public body responsible for supporting homeless people.
One of its major projects is the £25 million-funded Homelessness Change and Platform for Life Fund which aims to “support rough sleepers, those at risk of sleeping rough and other non-statutory homeless people” by helping them get off the streets.
It seems, however, that “helping” rough sleepers off the streets bears a different meaning to the disgraced council leader who wrote to Thames Valley police chief Anthony Stansfield this week, asking him to use the 1824 Vagrancy Act to tackle “aggressive begging and intimidation” in the town.
He urged police to use powers “including implementing criminal behaviour orders for the numerous offenders” to rid Windsor's streets of rough sleepers for the royal wedding — in effect, criminalising homelessness.
The Tory council boss claimed that homeless people could show Windsor in a “sadly unfavourable light” when thousands descend on the town for the televised wedding in May.
In a series of tweets sent while he was on a luxury winter break in the US last week, Mr Dudley claimed beggars were exploiting Windsor’s residents and the six million visitors to the town each year, with some “marching tourists to cashpoints to withdraw cash.”
The Tory bigot went on to claim that Windsor's rough sleepers had made a “commercial life choice praying [sic] on residents and tourists.”
Windsor police responded to Mr Dudley’s outburst by tweeting: “Housing is the responsibility of the council, but it is better that agencies work together so people don’t become homeless.
“We deal with reports of begging proportionately, but we have not had reports of anyone being marched to cashpoints to take out money.”
In his letter Mr Dudley claimed the council has evidence that a large number of those begging in the town are not homeless and those that are have rejected all support and are homeless by choice.
He demanded that police deal with “bags and detritus” accumulating on the streets to make way for the wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle.
Windsor Homelessness Project manager Murphy James said use of the Vagrancy Act was “the most inappropriate way of dealing with the problem.”
“It means treating people like they’re committing a crime, whereas there is nothing villainous in what they are doing,” he said.
Mr James branded the council chief’s comments “disgusting,” showing he is out of touch with the reality of life for Windsor’s rough sleepers.
“It’s absolutely abhorrent that anybody has got these views in this day and age, especially a lead councillor of the borough,” Mr James said.
“It shows he hasn’t got a clue. He has quite obviously never walked even an inch in their shoes.
“It is absolutely disgusting he is putting out such an opinion that it is a commercial life choice.”
Members of the public took to social media to express their shock at the Tory politician’s letter.
Twitter user Jonathan said: “What should be done is that the Royal free-loaders should pay for their own less extravagant wedding and use the money that is no longer wasted to aid these homeless that so offend our Tory friends. After all, the Queen claims to be a good Christian.”
Windsor and Maidenhead Council was contacted for comment. A spokesperson did not know where Mr Dudley was, “but I know he’s not in the office.”
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