1. ITV Report

Windsor council leader defends 'aggressive begging' comments

Simon Dudley from Windsor Council has come under fire for his comments on 'aggressive begging'. Photo:

A council leader in Berkshire who was criticised for saying "aggressive begging" should be tackled in Windsor, ahead of Prince Harry's wedding in the town, has defended his comments.

Cllr Simon Dudley this morning backtracked speaking on a local radio station, saying he was referring to anti-social behaviour and not the issue of homelessness.

His comments come ahead of the Royal Wedding planned for the town in May

Charities which help the homeless have reacted angrily to claims that some people near the Queen’s residence at Windsor Castle are choosing to beg on the streets rather than accept the support available.

The accusation was made by the leader of the council in the Royal Borough which controls Windsor.

Councillor Simon Dudley previously claimed some of the town’s homeless people are making "a voluntary choice" to live on the streets.

Conservative councillor Simon Dudley said beggars could present the town in a

As you will be aware from your officers, there is a growing concern amongst residents, businesses and visitors regarding the number of people occupying the streets of Windsor, who are begging during the day and in some cases taking occupancy throughout the night.

Since 2016 the Royal Borough has invested heavily in the support services for vulnerable residents, including those who are homeless.

This includes:

The establishment of an emergency night shelter open 365 days a year. A day service, attached to the night shelter, providing support services to our vulnerable residents.

The service assists people to address their complex needs, enabling them to move into temporary and then permanent accommodation -removing them from the cycle of homelessness.

Operating a drug and alcohol support service and an integrated mental health service, jointly run by the council and the Clinical Commissioning Group; the service targets support to vulnerable adults, including those living on the streets.

A comprehensive seven day a week service for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness operating in Ascot, Maidenhead and Windsor.

Implementation of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).

– A letter from Cllr Simon Dudley letter to Anthony Stansfeld
The Petition on Change.Org

The authority leader claimed his initial comments in a letter to the local Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) were misconstrued.

At the end of last year, he Tweeted calling on Thames Valley Police to deal with "an epidemic of rough sleeping".