New legal advice could restrict Orange parades in Scotland

Orange Order and other public processions in Scotland could be under threat after new legal advice suggests police may not have the power to close roads in non-emergency situations.

Traditionally, religious, political and cultural parades have been informally arranged between police and local councils, however, Police Scotland has now been informed they lack the power divert traffic without a court order, unless acting in an emergency situation.

Adhering to new legal protocols would inevitably increase council expenditure, according to a paper which will be presented to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA).

The additional costs involved in facilitating parades will almost certainly be passed on to parade organisers, putting many events at risk of being down-sized or cancelled, the Herald newspaper has reported.

Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins has said the new legal advice will come into order from April.

“Counsel’s opinion is that police officers have no power to close roads or restrict traffic flow at pre-planned events,” he said.

“If a roads authority believe restrictions are required, a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) should be obtained. Such orders have rarely been required in the past, but without such an order going forward, police will have limited powers”.