Police Clears Away Homeless Around Windsor Castle Ahead of Royal Wedding

Published May 16th, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
(AFP/File Photo)
(AFP/File Photo)

Police have been seen clearing away sleeping bags and other possessions belonging to homeless people ahead of the Royal wedding in a video.

The entire areas around Windsor castle is being placed on lock-down as anti-terror bollards are erected and a heavy police presence moves in, ready for Saturday's nuptials between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Ahead of a dress rehearsal on Thursday the Berkshire town is being swept for safety risks.

However, while measures were taken to improve security, officers also moved rough sleepers.

The video clip shows officers asking two homeless men, who had pitched up outside a Barclay's Bank opposite Windsor Castle, to pack up their items in see-through bags which are later sealed and taken away in a police van.

They were told the bags, which were filled with bedding, books and magazines, will be kept in storage until Monday.

A woman clutching a blue sleeping bag is seen talking to police at first before she quickly moves on clutching her possessions.

Police said today they were offering the homeless an opportunity to store their belongings until after the big day.

Thames Valley Police say the move is for security reasons and to avoid any obstructions on Windsor's tightly-packed pavements come Saturday when up to 100,000 people are expected to cram into the Berkshire town for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Local council leader Simon Dudley sparked outrage last year when he called for homeless and beggars to be cleared out of Windsor in time for the ceremony – which takes place on Saturday afternoon - in case they painted the town in a 'sadly unfavourable light'.

In the video, one of the homeless men who was made to pack away his possessions says: 'There was big speak on the TV about the homeless being helped but when they said helped they meant removed. 

'I understand that there isn't the resources but Children In Need and Red Nose Day have been going on for how long? Is it getting any better? No, worse.

'Any charity – legally six per cent – that's all they have to give. I understand they have people who they employ and stuff like that. But we help other countries when there's enough British people who need help.'

At least six bags were removed and taken to the back of a parked police van. The men were allowed to keep small essential items, like bottles of water, with one of the officers heard telling them: 'Right, is that all you need for the next few days?'

Thames Valley Police are working closely with The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, The Windsor Homeless Project, and local support services in order to offer support to local homeless people.

Officers are also working with a homeless project in Sussex to offer further support.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: 'A scheme has been set up for those who choose to store their belongings at the Windsor Homeless Project during the Royal Wedding, and our officers have been assisting with transport of belongings, however this is entirely voluntary to ensure the safety of the homeless community.

'We will continue to engage and work in partnership to support the communities of Windsor.

'The Royal Wedding is a national celebration and everyone is welcome, however everyone in Windsor on the day of the wedding will be subject to a search and screening. Anyone with large items that are deemed to be a security risk are likely to have those items removed.'

Councillor Dudley, a Conservative, complained about rough sleepers in Windsor on Twitter while he was on a Christmas skiing holiday.

On his return to Britain, he wrote a letter to Thames Valley policing boss Anthony Stansfeld calling for action and copying in Theresa May and Amber Rudd.

He wrote: '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.'

'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.'

His comments sparked a national row and were criticised by Prime Minister Theresa May, MP for neighbouring Maidenhead, and homeless charities.

The wedding will be one of the most heavily guarded events in history, with police snipers perched on roof-tops, special-forces troops mingling with crowds and road blocks in place.

A no-fly zone will also be in force during the service.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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