Concern over future of police pipe bands


SCOTLAND’s police pipe bands could face the axe ahead of the move to a single police force next year.

MSPs will lobby the new chief constable of the unified force to save the bands, some of which are more than 100 years old.

The issue has also been raised with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill by Nationalist MSPs .

Strathclyde Police’s pipe band is the most successful of all time and Lothian and Borders Police has won the World Championship 20 times.

This includes 10 times in 11 years in the 1980s and 1990s.

Highlands and Islands MSP and former policeman John Finnie, said the bands were vital “community assets” and should be preserved.



John Wilson, former pipe sergeant of the Strathclyde Police band, said the pipes and drums were famous.

He said: “We used to go to the Cowal Gathering and every ruffian in the place would follow us as we marched down the street.

“We were their band as well.

“There are so many questions about this. We don’t know how they are going to view the pipe bands.”

Dave Conner, secretary of the Northern Constabulary Pipe Band and a retired police sergeant, said: “For bands to disappear without a trace, that would be sad.

“The pipe bands are a community resource, a bridge between the public and the police.”



Assistant chief constable of Lothian and Borders Police Graham Sinclair is leading discussions around the future of the pipe bands as part of the National Police Reform Team.

He said: “Consideration is being given to the future of the force pipe bands.

“Any proposal for the future however, will have to be considered by the Chief Constable and the Scotish Police Authority, given the implications around the funding arrangements and the naming of any police pipe bands.”