Kent Police pull out of marshalling at dozens of Remembrance Sunday parades
A policeman lays a wreath at a Remembrance Sunday service at Dover
War veterans have been told Kent Police officers will no longer marshal dozens of Remembrance Sunday parades across the county.
The force has decided uniformed officers will not automatically help stop traffic at ceremonies unless there is a public order risk.
It means many Royal British Legion branches will now have to arrange for roads to be closed, get insurance and possibly pay for security.
Kent Police said the decision is in keeping with nationwide policy, but officers will continue to provide support and guidance to organisers of more than 70 parades.
Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has written to Chief Constable Ian Learmonth for an explanation.
He said: "I'm extremely concerned. I don't think cuts to officers is an excuse for this. These parades have been taking place for very many years - they haven't changed that much.
"Policing numbers may have gone up and down, but the parades have always carried on. It's a question of saying how can we make them work."
A Remembrance Sunday parade in Rochester High Street
A Remembrance Sunday parade in Folkestone last year
Mr Collins added: "I got in touch with the Chief Constable and I want to know his detailed response to the plans that have been set out and how the police can work with communities to deliver their parades.
"It's not acceptable that parades should be lost that have been held for decades.
"If the police want to work with the communities in a different sort of way to help support the parades, then let’s work that out.
"We've got time before November, but it's absolutely vital that the parades are allowed to go ahead and the communities are able to mark Remembrance Sunday in the way they have for very many years."
The 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide band lead a Remembrance Sunday parade in Snodland
Kent Police said the policy is "standardised" across the country.
A spokesman said: "Support and guidance will continue to be given by Kent Police to the organisers of the more than 70 Remembrance events across the county.
"We work with local authorities through Safety Advisory Groups which provide advice and guidance regarding specific areas of responsibility for both the organisers of an event and the other agencies involved.
"Assessment of the need for police attendance and action at public events is based on the need to discharge the core responsibilities of the police.
"Legal advice indicates that these are the prevention and detection of crime; preventing or stopping breaches of the peace; traffic regulation within the legal powers provided by statute and activation of a contingency plan when there is an immediate threat to life.
"Traffic regulation is different from traffic management and police powers to regulate traffic for planned events are extremely limited.
"There will often be a significant presence at the larger events, both in terms of police participation and policing the event, but to be present at all of them where there is no police requirement would be a large demand on resources when not necessary.
"We are currently working with other agencies to assist organisations, such as Dymchurch Royal British Legion, to obtain the proper signage for their events."
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