Published: May 31, 2009

Scottish on Saturday: Strathclyde Police will attend; Currie resigns

The Strathclyde Police will compete at the first UK major competition of the year – the Scottish Championships – at Dumbarton, Scotland, on Saturday after some speculation that the band would be unable to attend due to challenges within the police force.
 
Although they plan to make the contest, pipes|drums has learned that the band is experiencing a “death by a thousand cuts” from police force management, according to a source close to the band who spoke on condition of anonymity.
 
In February it was reported that the police force planned to eliminate the band altogether, but officials with the Strathclyde Police force later confirmed that the band would be permitted to attend the five major championships.
 
“The band is not in control of itself,” the source said, referring to the allegation that the Office in Charge of the band, Iain MacPherson, has had the job “taken out of his hands” by other officials in the force.
 
The Strathclyde Police Pipe Band has always been under the management of a designated officer in charge, who in the past has been former players, such as the well known piper, John Wilson.
 
pipes|drums also confirmed that Strathclyde Police tenor drummer Scott Currie, who joined after the 2008 season after playing with House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead for several years, has resigned. Currie had been in charge of revamping the group’s mid-section.
 
Despite the occupational challenges, morale is allegedly still good within the group, and there are no plans to disband.
 
Funding for the band’s operations have allegedly been cut, meaning, among other things, that “guest” players – pipers and drummers who play with the band but do not serve on the force – will not be flown in. Guests included players from Northern Ireland and England.
 
The inability to bring in guest players, combined with several other members not able to attend, apparently would have prevented the band from competing at Gourock on May 9th had the event not been cancelled due to wet conditions.
 
Thirteen Grade 1 bands are entered to compete at the Scottish Championships. pipes|drums plans to post results in real-time as they are announced from the field.
 
The Strathclyde Police are one of the last top-grade police bands in the world to comprise primarily working police officers. Most police bands receive sponsorship, with relatively few actual police officers in the ranks.

8 COMMENTS

  1. God luck to the boys and girls in the Polis for Saturday. Tough stuff dealing with all of this I am sure, but hopefully it’s a good day in Dumbarton.

  2. Is it just me thats kinda sick of hearing about this. I do recognise this is an institution and one of the oldest bands etc, etc. However, this is tax payers money thats being spent flying players in and out and accomodating practices. If the players really wanted it that much then they should do what almost every other player needs to do which includes practicing outwith work, arranging holidays around majors, paying subs or gigging to fill the bands bank balance for uniforms / drums etc, etc. paying good heard earned cash to travel to play and compete and juggling family life to fit in band, practice, work, wife, kids. Not really that different to anyone else. If the band and it’s players really wanted this that much then they would make it happen regardless of money and time being made available. It is not uncommon for several of our drum corps to attend championships straight of a night shift, sleep for a little in the morning, compete then have a sleep in the bus. Around the worlds they take holidays or in a lot of cases where holidays are fixed unpaid leave. Anyway, just my opinion. The name of this band could survive if people wanted it too, without it costing tax payers money surviving which I am sure is where a lot of the issue stems from.

  3. The band has always had to walk a fine line, even back in the halcyon days under MacLellan. Time on the beat versus time on chanters and pads etc was always a point of contention, that’s why key players, back then, always made time to ‘play the game’ with the top brass. I wonder if that happens now…? Great band and long may it continue, but I wonder if photos of boozy ‘working’ weekends in Germany, for example, posted on various and readily-available social networking internet sites paint the right image, especially to co-workers in the force. The message of more policing and less piping has been issued by those who run the force, so the ball is squarely on one side of the net. The band will carry-on if sensible heads prevail and that ‘line’ is clearly defined and understood by all.

  4. God luck to the boys and girls in the Polis for Saturday. Tough stuff dealing with all of this I am sure, but hopefully it’s a good day in Dumbarton.

  5. Is it just me thats kinda sick of hearing about this. I do recognise this is an institution and one of the oldest bands etc, etc. However, this is tax payers money thats being spent flying players in and out and accomodating practices. If the players really wanted it that much then they should do what almost every other player needs to do which includes practicing outwith work, arranging holidays around majors, paying subs or gigging to fill the bands bank balance for uniforms / drums etc, etc. paying good heard earned cash to travel to play and compete and juggling family life to fit in band, practice, work, wife, kids. Not really that different to anyone else. If the band and it’s players really wanted this that much then they would make it happen regardless of money and time being made available. It is not uncommon for several of our drum corps to attend championships straight of a night shift, sleep for a little in the morning, compete then have a sleep in the bus. Around the worlds they take holidays or in a lot of cases where holidays are fixed unpaid leave. Anyway, just my opinion. The name of this band could survive if people wanted it too, without it costing tax payers money surviving which I am sure is where a lot of the issue stems from.

  6. The band has always had to walk a fine line, even back in the halcyon days under MacLellan. Time on the beat versus time on chanters and pads etc was always a point of contention, that’s why key players, back then, always made time to ‘play the game’ with the top brass. I wonder if that happens now…? Great band and long may it continue, but I wonder if photos of boozy ‘working’ weekends in Germany, for example, posted on various and readily-available social networking internet sites paint the right image, especially to co-workers in the force. The message of more policing and less piping has been issued by those who run the force, so the ball is squarely on one side of the net. The band will carry-on if sensible heads prevail and that ‘line’ is clearly defined and understood by all.

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