North Yorkshire Police have defended their decision not to manage traffic at smaller Remembrance Day events.
Assistant Chief Constable Elliot Foskett has spoken out following what he called “misleading interpretations” of the force’s decision to cease traffic management for smaller Remembrance events.
He said: “As a veteran of eight years, with two brothers still serving members of the military, a grandfather who was a Marine in World War Two and an uncle who served in Burma, I am fully behind Remembrance Sunday and so is North Yorkshire Police.
“We will still be attending the services in uniform and laying wreaths alongside our military, emergency service and community partners.
“Our officers will also be encouraged to attend events when they are on patrol and are able to pause for a while, to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom today.
“North Yorkshire will be visible, present and proud to pay our respects as we have throughout our history.”
However he added: “It is true, however, that we have had to make the difficult but lawful decision to cease providing traffic management support to 32 smaller Remembrance Day events in North Yorkshire and the City of York.”
The officer said that under the Traffic Management Act 2004, which placed the responsibility on the local authority and event organisers, the larger Remembrance Day events in the area had employed traffic management companies to ensure public safety.
“However, for many years, North Yorkshire Police has continued to provide a traffic management function to the smaller Remembrance Day events.
“In line with the legislation, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing have stressed that policing should not take responsibility for closing roads or managing traffic, other than in an emergency.
“This is to make sure police resources remain focused on tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
“With immediate effect, North Yorkshire Police has repositioned to fully comply and will not be undertaking routine traffic management for any Remembrance Day events in 2023 and in subsequent years.
“We may, of course, still sometimes need to carry out or supplement road closures with police resources where this is necessary to discharge our core responsibilities, such as counter terrorism activity.”
Ass Chief Con Foskett said the force was working closely with North Yorkshire Council and City of York Council to assist the affected event organisers to put in place the necessary arrangements in time for November, including obtaining a temporary traffic regulation order.
“The upset caused by this change is fully understandable, but it is categorically wrong to suggest North Yorkshire Police no longer supports Remembrance Day.
“We simply could not continue to act outside of the legislation and national police guidance.”