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But the Avon and Somerset Police campaign was roundly criticised by charity bosses, politicians and members of the public via social media as a spectacular waste of time.
The force said it was ‘disappointed’ about the criticism – and urged anyone who felt ‘victimised’ by such comments to report them as hate crimes.
Organisers will now have to find £800 to pay for a private traffic management company or cancel the annual march to honour the fallen.
Jock Bryson, 82, who organises the poppy appeal in Melton Mowbray, Leics, said: ‘I feel disgusted that people went to war and gave their lives and now, all of a sudden, as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the police are saying they are not going to help us.’Police insisted budget cuts and reduced numbers meant officers had to be deployed where risk is greatest.
They are desperate to persuade the Government to pump more cash into the front line to tackle violence, complex offences and new threats.
One chief officer said: ‘Many police chiefs feel trapped in a corner.
They are looking for cheap wins.’Tory MP Peter Bone accused the police of ‘playing games’.
He added: ‘Most people think police should be out on the beat catching criminals and deterring crime, not doing silly stunts.‘With limited resources I am sure police officers would rather be out catching criminals than taking part in a publicity stunt.’In Avon and Somerset, police went out on patrol wearing neon nail varnish to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
The fact police ask the question emerged during a series of raids by more than 50 officers on cannabis farms in and around Gloucester earlier this week.Male officers from South Wales Police – as well as the force’s police and crime commissioner – posed in women’s shoes yesterday to highlight the issue of domestic violence.It was also revealed this week that stressed-out officers are recovering from tragedies by cuddling puppies.They have no money and a lot to tackle on their patches.‘In many cases these gimmicky events don’t cost much and are an easy way of showing something is being done.’ Male and female staff were encouraged to wear garish neon nail varnish while on patrol to raise awareness of people-trafficking in nail bars.Officers excitedly tweeted about ‘pampering’ themselves before shifts, and posted photos of their lurid nails while they were on patrol.
The force posted images of officers pampering themselves with the catchline ‘Let’s Nail It’.