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Police defend ‘over the top’ torch escort
Tuesday, 03 July 2012
AXMINSTER police has defended its deployment of four officers to escort a torch-bearing party.
A member of the public contacted Pulman’s View after having seen the procession, and felt the police presence was “over the top”, especially when the force is stretched by a challenging budget.
The event in question took place on Wednesday, June 20th when a group of about 30 pupils from St Mary’s and Axminster primary schools gathered at Sector Lane.
They assembled at the football ground before embarking on a walk to Hawkchurch Primary School as part of an Olympic torch relay.
A police escort was provided for the children.
Hawckchurch resident Clive Lewis stressed that he is all for children being safe, but he felt the amount of police was over the top.
He said: “We were driving towards Axminster and there were three police cars.
“There was one ahead near the hotel, and two cars with the group.
“Children have to be protected but I thought the number of police was a little high.
“I thought that perhaps one police car and maybe a teacher’s car would have sufficed.”
Axminster-based police sergeant Peter Trudgeon defended the decision to deploy the number of officers and vehicles.
He said: “I can confirm we did have a four officers involved in the event. There were three police community support officers - one from Axminster and two from Seaton - and the local neighbourhood beat manager Simon Rodgers.
“The school approached us and asked for our support with the event.
“We reviewed the original planned route with the school and made a few changes for safety reasons.
“The route the children took was the safest route they could have taken.
“At certain roads/junctions along the route, we needed additional police vehicles to stop the traffic whilst the children were on the road.
“The event went extremely smoothly and the children thoroughly enjoyed their day.
“The Axe Valley neighbourhood teams are still here to support the local communities.”
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