Remembrance services in Essex
It is right and proper that those who served courageously are remembered and honoured in ceremonies across the land. The police service itself has always been a participant in such ceremonies to honour the fallen, and I hope will continue to be so.
Historically, there has been a wide range of approaches and different levels of policing involvement with Remembrance services and parades across our county. Earlier this year, Essex Police gave detailed consideration to the level of support they would be able to provide, and concluded the force would not be in a position to support the approximately 80 events planned across our county. This was communicated by Essex Police to district councils many weeks ago, in a letter which provided detailed guidance around how these events could proceed without direct police support.
Whilst it is true that police have powers to close roads in certain, mostly emergency circumstances, local authorities also possess road closure powers which are more appropriate in this context. Local authorities are also able to provide marshals, if these are needed, and have wide experience in involving volunteers.
It is of course disappointing that Essex Police now has to take a firmer line in responding to requests to help marshal events such as Remembrance ceremonies, but the Chief Constable, with whom I discussed this earlier in the year, is facing tough resource challenges. Our police must and will continue to tackle the many harms in our communities, which they do hour by hour, day by day and this has to be the priority.
I am conscious that we have military establishments in Essex, and where garrison personnel are taking part in ceremonies, appropriate policing will be deployed.
With the advice given by police, the powers that local authorities possess and sufficient planning, I am sure that most parades will proceed across Essex.
I would also be happy to convene a meeting later this month with senior police officers, local authorities, parish council and Royal British Legion representatives to review the different approaches across Essex to help those who will be planning for next year’s events.
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex