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Police will not marshal roads for Remembrance Day events across Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:44 16 October 2015

Romford Remembrance Day service in 2014

Romford Remembrance Day service in 2014

Mark Sepple 2014

Police have pulled support for Remembrance Day parades across the borough and will not be marshalling road closures, the Recorder can reveal.

The cash-strapped Met usually provides officers to divert traffic away from routes, but Havering Council and branches of the Royal British Legion have been told that while officers will attend to lay wreaths they will not marshal the roads.

The authority has reacted by saying it will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure the events go ahead. It is applying for a Traffic Management Order to prevent parades taking place on the pavement and could hire a private security firm to marshal the roads.

Wendy Neal, Hornchurch Royal British Legion treasurer, called police disrespectful.

“This is one of the most important events in the borough,” she said. “Especially for Hornchurch as it was an RAF station and we have war graves.”

Ron Hawes is a member of the Rainham Royal British Legion and has organised the Rainham parade for eight years.

“It’s terrible,” he said. “The police have always done it, we have 1,500 people turn up.”

Chris Simpkins, director general of the Royal British Legion and Ch Con Sara Thornton, chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, sent a joint letter in July to senior police officers pleading for their support at parades.

The letter was sent after reports in recent years of police charging for their assistance. Another letter was sent by Dr Simpkins to councillors across the country asking them not to pass road closure or policing costs on to legions.

Ex-policeman Roy Tyzack said it was unbelievable no officers could be spared for an event of such national importance. “I’ve seen policing at its best,” he said. “I now believe its at its worst. The officers are still dedicated, but it’s the way it’s being run.”

Cllr Roger Ramsey, council leader, said nothing would stand in the way of the borough recognising the sacrifice of those who gave their lives so we could be free.

He said: “We understand from the police they will no longer be supporting the parades by diverting traffic away from the routes. While we’re disappointed, we will not allow it to interfere with the smooth running of these hugely important events.”

A message from Ch Insp Russell Taylor posted on Havering Police’s Facebook page reads: “The British Army and the British Police Service have a long history of assisting and supporting each other.

“This year is no different.

“In Havering the local police and local authority are working together to ensure remembrance ceremonies go ahead without issues.

“As always there will be a police presence at every remembrance ceremony in the borough and we will be showing our respect by laying wreaths honouring those who fell defending this country”

A police spokeswoman has also said that the responsibility for traffic management lies with the organiser and the authority.

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