27 June 2017
RMT Press Office:
As final vote takes place in Scottish Parliament, RMT warns abolition of British Transport Police will increase terrorist threat on the railways and calls for essential safeguards for workers and passengers.
Ahead of the final vote on the Railway Policing Bill in the Scottish Parliament today, 27th June, RMT has reiterated its opposition the Bill’s proposals to abolish the British Transport Police accusing the Scottish Government of putting “nationalist ideology before the safety of workers and passengers.”
The union has warned that abolishing the British Transport Police will increase the terrorist threat by diluting a specialist police operation on the railway and that the force will be distracted by a major reorganisation at a time of heightened security on major infrastructure.
The union is also backing a series of amendments to the Bill which it has described as” absolutely essential safeguards” in the event that the Bill is passed.
The amendments include an independent review and vote on the effectiveness of the legislationeighteen months after introduction. Other amendments include involvement of the trade unions in overseeing and managing the new arrangements, and for Police Scotland to set out how it will maintain and deliver specialist railway training requirements as part of these drastic reforms.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The Scottish Government’s proposals to abolish the British Transport Police put nationalist ideology before the safety of workers and passengers on Scotland’s railways.
"As well as the increase in risk to passengers, workers and resources from duplicating existing arrangements, abolishing the British Transport Police will increase the terrorist threat by diluting a specialist police operation on the railway and the force will be distracted by a major reorganisation at the worst possible time.
“RMT call on MSPs to oppose the Bill but we also back a series of amendments which will provide absolutely essential safeguards for workers and passengers, including an independent review into the effectiveness of the legislation and the full involvement of the trade unions.”