It’s not often that we get to wholeheartedly celebrate a decision that is made by top brass in the emergency services.
Not because such decisions don’t always warrant a celebration, but just because we don’t always get to hear about such decisions.
However, we recently found out that the West Mercia Police boss, Chief Constable Mr Bangham, has confirmed to his officers that they CAN, if they so desire, place remembrance poppy decals on their police vehicles for this years remembrance day.
Police Sergeant Lee Baker had approached the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police in order to ask for permission for the poppies to be placed on the forces’ police cars as a mark of respect for the thousands upon thousands of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
PS Baker said: “I could only get 4 Poppy decals last year and I put them on some of our armed response vehicles.
“I planned ahead this year and got relevant permission etc.
“Chief Constable Mr Bangham has been very supportive and left me to make the necessary arrangements. Just need to get them all on now.”
We applaud and salute Mr Bangham for allowing these poppies to be displayed on his police vehicles for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, there are many ex-forces personnel who, upon leaving the armed forces, join the police (and other parts of the emergency services).
I was one of them and on the response team that I was on whilst I served in the Metropolitan Police, out of around 35 of us, 4 were ex-forces veterans.
Secondly, many police officers were taken out of the emergency services and were sent to fight in wars and never made it back home.
So it is only right, proper and decent that we honour their memories.
Thirdly, the poppy is NOT about ‘celebrating war’ as many mis-informed ‘opponents’ of the Poppy Appeal might and often do claim.
It’s about remembering the lives of the brave men and women who were sent to fight in wars and who never made it back home to their friends and families.
It’s about the men and women who gave their lives so that we can continue to live ours.
Now, we know that there is going to be a very small group of people out there, who will not agree with this decision. A very small group, but with a very loud voice.
But to such people, we politely say please, just respect the fact that there is nothing ‘wrong’ with honouring the war dead.
If you don’t want to wear a poppy, then thats fine. If you want to wear a ‘white’ poppy then thats also fine. Because we live in a democracy that has been protected by the very same men and women who the poppy honours.
The emergency services also has the right to remember it’s war dead, if it so chooses.
The emergency services has the right to honour the memories of the Dads, the brothers, the uncles, the sons and the cousins who never made it home.
The emergency services has the right to honour the memories of the mums, the sisters, the aunties, the daughters and the cousins who never made it home.
As well as serving in conflict zones myself during my time in the armed forces, I have also had family members who were sent to Afghan and the Falklands.
Like many, I have also had great grandads who fought in the first world war and great uncles who fought in the second world war.
The men and women who are sent to fight in war zones all around the world, fight for their fellow brothers and sisters who serve besides them on the front line.
They do not always agree with the wars which they are sent to fight in, but they have the courage and bravery necessary in order to carry on fighting – to serve their country.
I mention this, because each year we get the same misguided ‘news’ outlets making the same misinformed claims about the poppy and what it stands for.
However, without a shadow of a doubt, the vast majority of people WILL support this show of respect to our war dead by West Mercia Police.
And what a refreshing change it makes, that a division of the emergency services has not given in to the small but loud voices of the equally-as-small groups of individuals who will not ‘like’ this decision.
Ultimately, it is not the decision of the men and women who serve in the armed forces to go to war.
Such decisions are made by successive Governments in relation to threats, or perceived threats, to the function and well-being of this country.
In an ideal world, then there would be no wars and no lives would be lost fighting on the front line.
But that ideal world is a long, long way off and we should remember the hundreds of thousands of men and women who were sent off to fight but who never made it home to their loved ones.
Our only concern now, is that the small but loud voices who will be against this decision, will somehow manage to change the mind of the West Mercia Police to allow poppy decals on its vehicles.
We say this, because each year we hear about emergency services personnel being told to remove Poppies from their vehicles / uniform for fear of ‘upsetting’ people (each year when I wore my poppy whilst also serving in the emergency services, not ONE person was ‘upset’).
I can guarantee you, with 100% certainty, that more, in fact, many more people will be more upset with poppies being REMOVED rather than poppies being displayed.
If indeed you are in the emergency services and you get told that you are not allowed to wear or display a poppy this year, then get in touch with us via the different methods below and we will 100% take up your story.
Lest we forget…
Since publishing this article, we have been contacted by a spokesman for the Royal British Legion who wanted to point out the following:
“Please be aware that The Royal British Legion owns the trademark in the two-petal poppy used by the provider of these poppy vinyls sold to West Mercia Police.
“This provider has not been authorised to use the Legion’s trademark and I have written to the provider requiring them to immediately cease and desist from using the Legion’s trademarked poppy in this way.
“The Legion’s trademarked poppy enables the Legion to raise funds to assist veterans and their families, and anyone seeking a poppy vinyl to support veterans can purchase a valid vinyl from the Legion’s Poppy Shop website.”
“to visit the ONLY official Royal British Legion shop, CLICK HERE –>
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Thank you Mr Bangham and Police Sergeant Baker. We shall remember them.
Its about time this was done, they should be displayed on ALL Emergency vehicles.
Who is your distributor & are they available to the general public? I could do with a couple for my vehicles in the US!
Would also like to purchase some for our Ambulance fleet, where can I get them please?