Horsham pipes up for police bands

HORSHAM Rural City Council is disappointed by Victoria Police’s lacklustre response to an outcry over its decision to axe its bands.

In September Victoria Police announced 48 police musicians, including those in Code One and the police pipe and show bands, would be redeployed in the force.

Council asked Chief Commissioner Ken Lay and Police Minister Kim Wells to reconsider the decision to ‘civilianise’ the pipe band and disband Code One and the show band.

Mr Lay’s chief of staff Robert Clegg told council last week the decision would stand.

Mayor David Grimble said Mr Clegg’s letter was generic, although it did acknowledge the role the bands played in breaking down barriers between police and the community.

He said he was lucky enough to see one of Code One’s final performances at the Queen Victoria Market.

“There were a lot of people acknowledging how good Code One is,” he said.

“I made myself known to a few people and they certainly knew who Horsham Rural City Council was and they acknowledged our support.”

Cr Tony Phelan said the disbanding was bad for public relations.

“I think the Victoria Police is always searching for ways to improve public relations and to relate to their communities and I think it’s disappointing that these bands – which do such an excellent job – have been facing the chop,” he said.

Cr Sue Exell said she hoped Victoria Police would reconsider reinstating the bands in the future. “The total cost to run the band in a year is one per cent of the total cost to run the police, which is really quite amazing,” she said.

“Hopefully we can still keep pushing through Facebook and support this group. It would be really nice to keep them alive in some form.”

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