Chatham Remembrance Day parade will be policed says Kent force
Police have said they will continue to support the Chatham Remembrance Day parade but the route may have to be changed.
Cllr Vince Maple claimed the event could be cancelled because Kent Police will no longer automatically marshal ceremonies unless there is a public order risk.
The Medway Labour leader wrote to crime commissioner Ann Barnes last week, urging her to reconsider.
But police have now said they were always going to provide officers for the event.
Chatham Remembrance Day parade
Yesterday, the force said it will continue to have a presence at more than 70 Remembrance parades across the county and will provide support and guidance to organisers, including Chatham.
Cllr Vince Maple said this was not the message he was given on Friday.
He added: “I was told it would not be policed. But I’m pleased we have now got the matter clarified.”
Officers have had a number of meetings with the organisers since July and remain in on-going discussions about the route of this year’s event.
Organisers want to stick with the historic route, which goes from Richard Street, along the High Street, into Railway Street, and then heads to Victoria Gardens along Fort Pitt Street.
But police want the parade to take an alternative route which includes a much steeper hill.
Cllr Maple said: “The alternative route is just not practically possible. The parade includes young children carrying standards and older veterans.
“I’m happy to have further conversations with the police and event organisers to discuss this.”
Remembrance Day service at Victoria Gardens
Chief Inspector Bryan Whittaker said: “Kent Police is committed to supporting organisers in the running of their event and have provided suggested alternative routes that are practical, safe and can be resourced by police and marshals.
"The current proposal would see an increase in the number of officers required to police the event.
“I am disappointed that after months of negotiations and discussions in which these suggestions have been put forward, that there has been a breakdown in communication at this late stage.”
New laws mean police across the country have fewer powers to regulate traffic for Remembrance Day parades and are therefore no longer able to automatically provide officers to close roads.
Organisers now have responsibility to organise security and traffic arrangements, arrange for roads to be closed and obtain insurance.
Kent Police said it will support organisers in applying for a road closure notice, which means event organisers can enact the closure.
Ian Learmonth, Chief Constable at Kent Police, said: “We’ve never said these events won’t be policed, what we’ve said is event organisers will be responsible for organising the event.”
“This has been misrepresented by some people, the police are not abandoning any Remembrance Day events, they are really important to us as an organisation.”
Mr Learmonth added: “Kent is a big military county and of course we want to show our respect at this very important time of the year.”
“It’s very unfortunate that this has been presented in the way it has, that suggests Kent police are walking away from it. That is not the case and it has never been the case.”
Kent Police remain adamant policing of the parades will be kept the same as previous years, including the decision to not send officers to small-scale functions.
Mr Learmonth said: “We will have police officers present at all but very few events and those few where we won’t have police officers is because they’re not needed.”
“There shouldn’t be any difference, assuming the organisers do their job.”
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