North Yorkshire Police responds to criticism after decision to end attendance at 32 local Remembrance Day parades

North Yorkshire Police’s assistant chief constable has hit back at criticism of his force for deciding to end traffic management cover at 32 small Remembrance Day parades across the county.

ACC Elliot Foskett, himself a Royal Navy veteran, said that North Yorkshire’s continuing attendance at the Armistice events until this autumn had been against national policing guidelines about the use of resources in place since 2004.

His officers manned road closures and managed crowds at over 30 parish parades, and many of these will now not be able to go ahead as their organisers will not be able to afford private traffic management fees.

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The Royal British Legion has already confirmed that the Knaresborough event is likely to be cancelled as the charity cannot spend its funds on road closure permits. In Richmond, the town council has stepped in to cover the cost and in Skipton, the town council’s staff are trained in traffic management and are able to perform this function. Larger parades, such as York’s, are council-run and have had private staffing for several years.

An Armistice paradeAn Armistice parade
An Armistice parade

ACC Foskett’s statement read: “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.”

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“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.

“Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, which placed the responsibility on the local authority and event organisers, the larger Remembrance Day events in our area have utilised 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.

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“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 are 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.”