Police Scotland will continue to police common riding events free of charge the Justice Secretary has assured parliament.
Kenny MacAskill was responding to a parliamentary question from South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.
Mr MacAskill also praised the common Ridings and the part police play in them. He said:
“The police have participated greatly in those [events] because they see the benefits to the community and many of them live in the communities in which they serve. I think that the member will find that Police Scotland will make no changes there.
“The police are there to serve and not to operate as a business. That is a matter that we have always made clear in Scotland.”
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“The Annan Riding of the Marches is widely recognised as being one of the best displays of pipes and drums in Scotland, with the closing ceremony attracting in excess of 5,000 people.
“I am pleased to hear that, as has been the case in the past, there will be no charge to the organisers to police this event, or any community event for that matter. The only difference is that Police Scotland will have the flexibility to draft in officers from outside the area in the unlikely event that this would be necessary. These officers would not receive any travel expenses.
“I have also spoken with representatives from the Dumfries Division of Police Scotland who advise that anyone with further enquiries regarding this matter should contact Annan Police Station and ask for Gordon McKnight or Sergeant Steven Wilson.”