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.