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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 20:05 GMT
Police shortage cancels scout march
The 2001 St George's Day parade at Windsor Castle
The national parade in 2001 took place at Windsor
A traditional march of 800 scouts and guides to mark St George's Day has been cancelled because police do not have enough officers to marshal the event.

The march in Bristol has taken place for the last 50 years but will not go ahead next month because organisers feel it would not be safe without police support.

Scout leader Ray Smith said the decision was a victory for criminals and police were concentrating manpower on troublemakers while neglecting decent young people.

The police said rising youth crime was soaking up resources and the force could not justify using the manpower for the march.

Muggers' 'victory'

Mr Smith, chairman of the 4th Bristol troop, said: "It is fundamentally wrong that we spend a lot of time, effort and money on the really naughty lads.

"If bad young people decided to protest the police would marshal that.

"We are all very disappointed - the criminals and muggers seem to have won."

He said that about 800 people would have taken part in the march.

Litigation threat

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said marshalling was not a core police role.

"We just do not have the resources to do this kind of thing," he said.

The spokesman said that fear over potential litigation if an accident happened at a police-marshalled event was also a concern.

The safety of people taking part in the march could not be guaranteed, he said.

Click here to go to Bristol
See also:

23 Apr 98 | UK
The great St George revival
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