Royal British Legion happy with support for Remembrance Sunday parades, according to Kent Police chief constable Ian Learmonth
The Royal British Legion is happy with the support provided to them for Remembrance Sunday parades, according to the head of Kent Police.
The force has announced that it will no longer automatically marshal ceremonies unless there is a public order risk.
Branches across Kent will now have to arrange for roads to be close, obtain insurance and possibly pay for security, in a move the force says is in keeping with national policy.
Remembrance Day service at the war memorial in Rochester High Street
Chief constable Ian Learmonth told a public meeting in Chatham, an area rich in military history, that so far there were problems with only one parade – in Dymchurch.
Speaking at the St George’s Centre in Chatham Maritime, which is a memorial to the men and ships who fought in the two World Wars, he said: "We’ll support our colleagues within the Royal British Legion, we've never said anything different.
"Organisations need to be doing some of the stuff on their own with our support."
Kent Police chief constable Ian Learmonth
The event was organised by police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes, who agreed with Mr Learmonth.
"If I thought for one minute the force was not giving support to do this then we would be having serious conversations," she said.
It was also revealed at the meeting that giving police community support officers extra powers is under consideration.
It was sparked when one member of the public said she wasn't sure what PCSOs actually do.
Police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes, with chief constable Ian Learmonth, holds a question and answer session at the St George's Centre
Mr Learmonth warned: "They still won’t have the same powers as a police officer."
Currently, PCSOs can issue fixed penalty notices for offences such as dog fouling and littering, confiscate alcohol and tobacco, demand the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner and remove abandoned vehicles.
Mrs Barnes said giving them powers of arrest would burden them with paperwork, and instead she wanted them "out in the community talking to local people".
One of the low points of Mrs Barnes term of office so far was the Paris Brown affair.
The teenager resigned from her role as youth crime commissioner earlier this year after a series of controversial messages on Twitter were discovered.
Mrs Barnes said she intended to press on with appointing a replacement, and had received 30 expressions of interest from people wanting to apply.
"I do think it’s important to have a face for the commissioner’s office with young people," she said.
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