MP enters row over Melton poppy parade

Mounted officers from the Defence Animal Centre, Melton, taking part in the 2016 Remembrance Day parade through Melton EMN-171018-110750001
Mounted officers from the Defence Animal Centre, Melton, taking part in the 2016 Remembrance Day parade through Melton EMN-171018-110750001
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Melton’s MP has blasted the ‘stupid bureaucracy’ which means organisers of the town’s Remembrance Sunday parade must raise hundreds of pounds to organise it because the police do not have the resources to get involved.

We exclusively revealed last week that the local branch of the Royal British Legion was having to launch a fundraising campaign to pay for professional traffic management help so next month’s event can be held safely.

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, MP for Melton EMN-170719-104953001

The Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, MP for Melton EMN-170719-104953001

The organiser of Melton’s Poppy Appeal, Jock Bryson, said he was ‘disgusted’ that police did not have the manpower to carry out their usual marshaling and traffic duties for an event which honoured the fallen from world wars.

And MP Sir Alan Duncan says the legion should not have to pay a penny to ensure the parade can go ahead on Sunday, November 12.

Richard Norton is running two marathons on the same day later this month in a bid to raise half of the £800 required, and a bake sale and a raffle are also being organised.

Sir Alan said it was a matter for the police to decide if the Remembrance parade was special enough to ensure resources are available.

But he said: “This £800 the Royal British Legion now has to find effectively comes straight out of the poppy fund.

“I sympathise with the police but they should have given the legion more notice that this was going to happen.

“What annoys me is the stupid bureaucracy involved.

“Once you bounce something over to a civillian organisation this bureaucracy tells them they have to do certain things and most of them are totally unnecessary.

“Why can’t the council just shut the road and allow enlightened amateurs wearing yellow jackets to supervise it all and no one would then have to pay anything.”

Organisers of last month’s annual Battle of Britain parade through Melton say they also had to pay ‘several hundreds of pounds’ for professional traffic management assistance after police told them they did not have the resources to co-ordinate it as they had in previous years.

Paul Davies, chairman of the Melton branch of RAFA, which organises the Battle of Britain parade, said: “The Battle of Britain was a key battle in keeping this country free and when you consider both ourselves and the Royal British Legion are charities which support those that have served and are still serving, including their families, it seems wrong that we have to spend funds to remember those that fought to give us all the freedoms we have today.”

Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, told the Melton Times this week the parade was an important part of the national heritage.

He added: “I do know from my discussions with the force that the day itself is always a busy one, with many events taking place across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

“Therefore it is necessary to manage the available resources to ensure that we can continue to deliver a quality policing service across the force area that can deal with the everyday issues that occur, even on Remembrance Sunday.”