Text of letter sent to contributors:
Marches, Parades And Static Demonstrations In Scotland
Dr Michael Rosie, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, has been invited by the Scottish Government to provide independent advice on marches, parades and static demonstrations in Scotland. I am writing to you as someone with an interest in this issue to invite you to meet with Dr Rosie so that he can hear your views on two key questions:
- Has the organisation, administration and policing of marches and parades in Scotland improved since the publication of Sir John Orr's Review of Marches and Parades in Scotland, published in 2005?
- What are the current issues and/or problems that you currently experience and what action would you like to see taken in response to these?
Ten years on from the 2005 review, it is right that we take stock of the current situation, consider how society has moved on since that time and ask whether the current arrangements are sufficient to respond to these changing circumstances. In addition, it is important to consider the current arrangements in light of the recent recommendations from the independent research report on the Community Impact of Public Processions (carried out by the University of Stirling and published in February 2015) and ensure that the recommendations in the report are being taken forward. The report noted the continued contentious nature of some marches and the need to ensure that we are achieving the right balance between rights and responsibilities. The report also noted some concern around static demonstrations.
In addition, the reports by the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland (published December 2013 and May 2015 respectively) made a number of recommendations in relation to marches and parades and Dr Rosie, who was himself a member of the Advisory Group, will also be looking at the progress that is being made with these. In particular, Dr Rosie hopes to scope out the current processes and procedures in place for arranging and facilitating marches, parades and static demonstrations in Scotland from all perspectives - those seeking to march, parade or demonstrate and those with statutory duties to facilitate and police such events - to identify good practice and potential areas for improvement, to ensure these are fit for purpose.
The reports referred to in the e-mail can be found at:
- The Review of Marches and Parades in Scotland, 2005: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2005/01/20583/50696
- Community Impact of Public Processions, 2015: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/02/3769
- Interim report of the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, 2013: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2013/12/6197
- Final report of the Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland, 2015: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/05/4296
I will be providing support to Dr Rosie for this work and he has asked me to contact you to find out whether you would be happy to meet with him for an informal discussion around these issues and to feed in your views. If so, we can identify a suitable date, time and location for the meeting to take place. Please feel free to contact me using the details below to arrange a meeting with Dr Rosie or if you have any further questions.