WAPOL could travel internationally – with permission
When the Grade 1 Western Australia Police Pipe Band appointed Alisdair McLaren as its new pipe-major, we reported that the band could only compete domestically, due to restrictions posed by the police force.
We’re pleased to report that that is not entirely accurate; the band can travel outside of Australia, but only with the permission of the Western Australia Police force.
“I would like to clarify that there are no restrictions on the band to travel . . . to compete or perform otherwise, interstate or internationally,” says Chris MacAulay, who supervises the band for the police force. “Any travel that the band makes is largely confined to Western Australia, as this is the core function of the band and its employees. For the band to travel outside of Western Australia, approval needs to be obtained from the WA Police Force and the relevant government authorities. Funding of any such travel is either arranged by the associated organizing bodies or through fund-raising initiatives of the band.”
“There are no immediate plans to travel internationally, once it is again safe to do so in light of the COVID-19 threat,” MacAulay adds. He did say that individual members of the band “will continue to participate with other bands internationally to continue contributing to the global pipe band movement.”
The Grade 1 Victoria Police of Melbourne, Australia, famously won the World’s in 1998. When the band returned home, it learned that it would not be permitted to travel internationally for competition, even if the group raised the money to do so on its own. The Victoria Police never had the chance to defend its title, and today remains only as a ceremonial show band for the Victoria Police Force.
The Western Australia Police Pipe Band last competed in Scotland in 2004. McLaren was pipe-major of the band from 2006 to 2007. He moved to Scotland to work at the National Piping Centre and be a member of the Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery and later the Glasgow Police as pipe-sergeant. He lived in Glasgow for 11 years before returning to his native Australia in January of this year.
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