Why it's too dangerous to raise a flag

By Richard SmithA POLICE station flagpole will be taken down - after it was ruled that it was too dangerous for an officer to hoist the flag.The flagpole at Woodbridge police station is fixed to the building and for many years a flag has flown on official occasions.

By Richard Smith

A POLICE station flagpole will be taken down - after it was ruled that it was too dangerous for an officer to hoist the flag.

The flagpole at Woodbridge police station is fixed to the building and for many years a flag has flown on official occasions.

Flying the flag is a simple operation and involves an officer putting his hand out of the window and hoisting the flag - but health and safety issues have ruled that this is now too dangerous a task for officers.


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Terry Horth, a retired police officer, of Hasketon Road, Woodbridge, said he could not understand how this could be declared dangerous - especially when officers routinely dealt with far greater dangers in their jobs.

Mr Horth complained to Suffolk police that the Union Jack flag had not been flown at the police station on the Queen's birthday, April 21.

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He was told by Suffolk police that it was “difficult to attach the flag to the flagpole which has restrictive access”.

Mr Horth said: “I pointed out that the flagpole and halyard were situated immediately outside one of the windows at the front of the police station and all that was needed was for some brave police officer to open the window, attach the flag to the halyard and then hoist.

“I am just amazed that no-one can put their hand out of the window and attach a flag to a halyard.

“I was stationed at Woodbridge police station for about two-and-a-half years and I was there at the time of the floods. I think that this is the window of my bedroom, which I occupied when I was called out at 2am on February 1, 1953, and subsequently with others recovered bodies from the prefabs at Felixstowe. “Now that was dangerous, smelly, wet and cold. It was a terrible job and I still think about it - but today no-one can open the window and hoist the flag.

“These health and safety issues have gone too far and times, they are a changing. I would not want to criticise the police force, but it is the health and safety rules which are the issue.”

Anne-Marie Breach, a spokeswoman for Suffolk police, confirmed the flagpole at Woodbridge police station could not currently be used due to health and safety issues.

“Anyone putting out the flag would have to lean out of the window and, due to the positioning of the pole, this would be unsafe,” she said.

“The flagpole is due to be removed shortly. A flag is flown at force headquarters at Martlesham Heath on appropriate occasions.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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