In the topsy-turvy world that is the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, the latest blow is Pipe-Major Don Bradford’s resignation from the band, whose future is unknown. Bradford reportedly joined Pipe-Sergeant Duncan Nicholson in his departure, effective October 20
Since pipes|drums originally broke the story in February 2009 of the changing role of the band within the Strathclyde Police force, the band has been beset with an uncertain status, stemming primarily from the force’s desire to make financial cut-backs. The band has traditionally comprised mainly serving police officers who are allowed to practice and compete on work time.
The force had also funded some of the travel of more than 10 guest players who have filled out the competition ranks.
A source very close to the band and within the piping community said, “It is pretty likely that will be the end of the band. Several members, these being prominent players had already intimated that they would no longer be playing with the band. The events over the past year and very recent events which had taken place, had made it impossible . . . to continue.
“The bosses at present will not be aware of all the recent developments and this will be interesting to see the reactions that will follow as a result of the latest revelations.”
Bradford, a serving police officer, departs after a year-and-a-half in charge. He took over midway through the 2008 competition season, replacing Donald Mackay, who stepped down abruptly the week before the European Championships. Mackay, also a serving officer, officially joined ScottishPower as its new Pipe-Sergeant last week.
The Strathclyde Police band’s status within the police force is to be determined.
The Strathclyde Police is one of few, if any, police pipe bands that still allows serving officers to practice and compete during work time. By contrast, the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band did away with the custom in the 1970s and the band continues today.
The source added, “At present no officers have been ordered to play however at present these guys will continue their operational policing in a proactive unit on a shift system and will be split up into two different teams.”
Bradford has been a member of several bands over the years, including Boghall & Bathgate, the 78th Fraser Highlanders, City of Glasgow, Glasgow Pipes & Drums and David Urquhart Travel. The latter three are now defunct.