Rising police costs for community events in Fife

Markinch Highland Games is just one of the community events being held in Fife that is facing additional costs for policing
Markinch Highland Games is just one of the community events being held in Fife that is facing additional costs for policing

The cost of holding community events in Fife appears to be on the rise after Police Scotland began charging for the presence of officers.

This week, the organisers of Markinch Highland Games were the latest to learn of the new expense that has been added to their yearly running costs.

They were informed, just three weeks ahead of this year’s Games, which take place at John Dixon Park on June 7, that they would be required to pay a three-figure sum to have police officers in attendance on the day.

But the Markinch Games committee is not the only event organiser to be hit by this additional cost.

Similar situations are arising across the Kingdom, with events like the Links Market in Kirkcaldy and annual gala days being affected.

Many of these events are organised each year by teams of volunteers and they rely on fundraising within the local community to enable them to go ahead.

Shane Fenton, who has been involved in organising the Markinch Highland Games for many years, said: “Markinch Games has never, ever requested the attendance of the police. They normally turn up on the day, under their own steam.

“We have never had to pay this money in the past. However, since the unification of Police Scotland, it seems to have come in.

“At the Scottish Highland Games Committee, it’s been brought up over the last year and a half but, in some other regions, they have been paying for police all the time.

“For example, in Grampian, they have been paying for the police to attend, as they close roads for pipe band processions, but we don’t have that.”

Shane explained that, since the committee members learned of the additional cost, they have met with the police this week and the games will go ahead as planned.