Woman claims she was told to remove her poppy at prison so as not to ‘offend others’

PUBLISHED: 16:12 04 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:40 05 November 2018

HM Prison Norwich. 

HM Prison Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A woman who paid a visit to see a relative at HM Prison Norwich claims she was told to remove a poppy she was wearing because it might have “offended other people”.

But a spokesman from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the visitor, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was not asked to take off the poppy, but was told the pin it was attached to could not go into the prison as it could have been used as a weapon.

However, the woman said she would have understood if that was the case, but her poppy was not attached with a pin.

She said: “I went to the visitor centre and I went up to the prison officers when I was booking in and got told to remove my poppy.

“They said I should remove it because it might offend other people because of their different backgrounds and religion.

“To be honest, I was flabbergasted so I didn’t say anything. I just took it off and put it in my bag and put it in a locker.

“I just felt awful that I got told to take it off, I was quite offended actually.

“I think you should be allowed to wear a poppy. My husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather were all in the forces.

“I don’t see why I should be told to take one off when I’m representing the majority of the community.”

But an MoJ spokesman said it was fine to wear poppies into prisons, but pins used to secure them needed to be removed.

He said: “The visitor was not asked to remove her poppy, but she was asked to remove the pin that was used to secure it because that is a potential weapon.

“There is not a problem wearing poppies, but people can’t be taking pins into prison because they could be used as a weapon.”

But the woman said her poppy was not attached with a pin.

She said: “I didn’t have a pin in it. I’ve got a fleece that’s got a zip in the middle and I always put it in there.

“I’ve done that for all the years that I’ve had a poppy because I know you end up losing it if you have a pin.”

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