Scottish Government’s Transport Police proposals

Scottish Government’s Transport Police proposals

9 May 2017

RMT Press Office:

Rail workers and passengers face “greater risk” from Scottish Government’s Transport Police proposals, RMT warns MSP's ahead of Scottish Parliament debate.

The safety and security of rail workers and passengers will be put at greater risk if MSP's do not oppose the Scottish Government’s legislative plans to abolish the British Transport Police, the largest rail union has warned ahead of a Stage 1 debate of the Railways Policing (Scotland) Bill in the Scottish Parliament today (9th May).
 
The union has also pointed to the near universal opposition to the proposals from rail workers, the police and train companies and said this means MSP's “must put aside ideology and party loyalty and oppose the Scottish Government’s proposals”.
 
In a briefing to MSPs the union has also warned that:
 
•    By abolishing the BTP in Scotland and absorbing it into Police Scotland, we will lose specialist skills and identity in policing passenger rail services in Scotland, accrued over many years.
•    The loss and erosion of specialist rail policing skills and expertise will result in an inferior service, adversely impacting on the safety and security of rail workers and passengers, particularly on Driver Control Operated services and at unstaffed stations.
•    These proposals will require rail service operators on both sides of the border, particularly where the service crosses the border to have the same operational agreement with two separate police forces, where currently only one Railway Policing Agreement (RPA) is required. This will have a negative effect on the co-ordination of policing crime and anti-social behaviour on cross border rail services, as well as confusing lines of responsibility, including around the additional administrative costs created by this move.
 
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
 
“MSP's need to be clear that if they do not oppose this Bill in principle, then they will be increasing the risk to the safety and security of rail passengers and workers.
 
“The loss or erosion of specialist skills provided by the British Transport Police is opposed by rail workers, rail employers and the police federation. The Scottish Government’s consultation failed to include any alternative approach to that in the Bill. That is not a sensible, proportionate or safe way to proceed, as four MSPs on the Justice Committee looking at this Bill have recognised.
 
“MSP's must put aside ideology and party loyalty and oppose this Bill in the interests of safer Scottish rail services.”
 
ENDS

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Tagged with: british transport police, scottish government, scotland, btp