Joan McAlpine contacted Chief Constable Sir Stephen House after a constituent alerted her to rule changes introduced by Police Scotland, raising concerns over the rules requiring road closures for community events.
The SNP MSP told the Chief Constable that the high costs of enforcing these road closures – which community groups are required to cover – could cripple event organisers budget’s.
“I was concerned when a constituent informed me that new rules now require road closures for some events, which were never necessary in the past. A recent example of this is ‘the kirking of the Cornet’ in Dumfries, which required parts of the road to be closed for the first time since the event’s inception, and incurred a bill of £300. It is concerning that such high costs will make small community events such as these unsustainable, if not now, certainly in the long run.
“I have written to Sir Stephen House asking him to explain to me the rationale behind these new rules and urging Police Scotland to be flexible and understanding in its approach to policing rural communities.”
“Community events like common ridings and galas are an important part of life across Dumfries and Galloway. They help to encourage a sense of community by bringing people together for a day and serve to promote and preserve the culture and heritage of individual towns and villages. The events also attract visitors and play a vital role in the economy of the region.
“Organisers dedicate days and weeks of their own time to making these events a wonderful day for the whole community to enjoy. This hard work should be appreciated and rewarded.”