POLICE support at historic summer festivals in the Borders is set to be scaled back.

The much-loved common ridings are celebrated in communities across the region each year, with officers policing events to keep the public safe.

But that support is in line to be reduced amid “significant budgetary pressures” at Police Scotland.

Chief Inspector Vincent Fisher, local area commander for the Scottish Borders, said: “As with many other public bodies, Police Scotland is subject to significant budgetary pressures. We must prioritise those demands that present the greatest threat, risk or harm and align our resources accordingly.

“Discussions with our partners continue to take place regarding policing the various common ridings and other festivals due to take place across the Borders this year.

“We fully appreciate how important these events are to your communities and we remain committed to supporting you, albeit in a reduced capacity, to deliver safe, enjoyable and memorable common ridings and festivals.”

Scottish Borders Council (SBC) also supports the festival committees – setting aside a cash pot of around £85,000 to assist with running costs.

Annual grants are awarded to help with the price of public liability insurance and protection measures, including road closures, first aid and stewarding.

The amount of money awarded is based on population levels and the requirement of horse cavalcades at festival activities – with committees in Galashiels and Hawick receiving the most.

SBC leader Euan Jardine said that council support for the festivals should be reviewed to see if more help can be offered.

“I think it’s important we look at it because the common ridings are vital in the Scottish Borders,” he told a meeting of Galashiels Community Council this month.

“Police will be stepping back support for the common ridings after this year. They’ll start having to do their own work with road closures.”

The Conservative councillor for Galashiels added: “They’re such an institution of the Borders and we need to start supporting them.”

Community councillor Bill White, a former elected member for the town, said that the festivals should be supported and praised their impact on the local economy.

“I remember it used to be £80,000 set aside from the council and that’s probably the best £80,000 they have ever spent,” he said.