Fears have been raised for the future of Fylde’s club days after police notified organisers they would not marshal this year’s processions.
Organisers have been told officers will not be available to help processions through towns and villages – and they will have to find yet more volunteers to carry out the role, closing roads and manning barriers.
It is part of a national move by police authorities – which local police say is making them look like the ‘bad guys’.
Fylde Coun Tommy Threlfall, who helps co-ordinate Freckleton’s Club Day proceedings, said: “One of the first things we hear from our new police inspector in Fylde is that we won’t be getting officers to help marshal club day processions.
“This is a community event that has gone on for years and is part of the village. It’s important for police to be a part of it.”
Officers will not close the dual carriageway at the village for this year’s event for the first time, with Lancashire County Council telling organisers to change their route.
And Coun Threlfall blasted county police chiefs for constantly asking Fylde residents for more tax.
He added: “At Fylde we’ve managed not to increase council tax for years, but ever since the police precept was separated, we see it going up and up and services withdrawn. It’s not right and not good enough.”
Steve Cross, Kirkham Club Day chairman said: “Club days are great events – we would hate to see them fall.
“I used to be in Cleveleys, where they held a really good club day for many years along Victoria Road East.
“But now, because marshal numbers dropped, they now just have a small, local parade.
“I am concerned this could happen long-term for Kirkham. We have got quite a few volunteers, but how long will they do it for?”
Lytham Club Day chairman John Porter added: “They started reducing support when Insp Keith Ogle was in charge.
“On the main roads, having a policeman to help with closures is some assistance – but we have to work with what we have got. We have trained people to accommodate that and have employed people from road safety services.
“We are always looking for more marshals.”
Coun Angela Jacques of St Annes Carnival Day added: “As you realise we do not get large sums of money – we have to rely on the generosity of people to organise the carnival day.
“Not having the police involved puts a slight financial increase on us.”
Insp Mark Thackeray Scott, who took over from Keith Ogle earlier this year, said: “We follow the local authority’s decision.
“The local highways authority gives permission. The organisers for the event have to put an application for a road closure in.
“It has been the case for a few years. It goes into the local authority who will consult the county council and police traffic manager to ask for their views.
“Their view is that it is unsafe to do a road closure on the dual carriageway in Freckleton.
“For that reason the local authority has gone back and asked organisers to reconsider the route.
“That is basically the issue. In previous years we have sent police patrols to close the dual carriageway. The organisers now have to apply.
“Last year we could do it, but this year they have said it’s not a safe way to do it. We won’t be closing the road.
“It is a bit unfair – we are being made to look like the bad guys.
“There will be officers at all the club days to prevent disorder, doing general policing.
“The road closure issue is a national policy, enforced by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable. We do get involved in national events, such as Remembrance Day, but that is it.”
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “Both my office and the Constabulary are working in partnership with Lancashire County Council to provide road signs for event organisers and develop a training package which will allow volunteers to become accredited marshals to marshal future events.”