THE Scottish Government have announced the establishment of a group to look at the future of regulating marches and processions.

It will examine models used in other countries – including the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland.

The Parades Commission has the power to cancel or reroute marches deemed to be a danger to public safety.

Justice Secretary Keith Brown announced the move on Thursday, answering a written question in Holyrood.

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“Today I am announcing the establishment of the independent ‘Facilitating Peaceful Assemblies in Scotland: Procedures and Best Practices – Short Life Working Group’ which brings together a small number of experts with backgrounds in marches, human rights, community engagement and mediation/dialogue,” the Justice Secretary said.

“The working group will consider what can be learned from other models used in relation to the regulation of marches and parades, including, but not limited to, the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland, and consider whether any of this learning can be usefully adapted and applied in Scotland to improve the regulation of marches and parades.”

The remit of the group, he added, would be to identify “challenges” in the running of marches and the notification process by which authorities are alerted to them.

A balance must be struck “between the human rights of organisers/participants with those communities impacted by these events”, the remit added.

The group will look at the best ways to address these challenges.

Professor Dominic Bryan of Queens University Belfast, Scottish Community Safety Network chief executive Lorraine Gillies, Scottish Mediation director Graham Boyack, and Dr Michael Hamilton of the University of East Anglia will make up the working group.

An initial report, the Justice Secretary said, will be submitted by the summer.

The prospect of a Parades Commission-style regulator was raised last year in Holyrood, when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would instruct Brown to look at what more could be done after 14 arrests were made in Glasgow in the wake of an Orange Order march, as well as reports of “racist and sectarian singing”.