New Bill to ensure strong future for Scotland’s railway police.
The integration of railway policing into Police Scotland has moved a step closer following the publication of a Bill in Parliament.
The Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill gives railway policing powers to the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and Police Scotland, in preparation for the integration of British Transport Police in Scotland.
The Bill also creates an obligation for the SPA and Chief Constable to engage regularly with railway operators on railway policing, and obtain the views of rail passengers and other interested persons, about policing of railways.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has committed to providing a ‘triple-lock guarantee’ that secures jobs, pay and pension conditions through the course of integration.
Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:
“British Transport Police plays a valuable role in keeping Scotland’s railways safe and we will ensure railway policing has a strong future and is fully accountable to the people of Scotland.
“Safety will always be our top priority and rail passengers and staff will continue to receive the high standards of security on our rail network that they are used to, throughout the period of integration and beyond.
“We have listened closely to the issues raised by the rail industry, policing services and unions and we have offered a triple-lock guarantee that secures jobs, pay and pension conditions through the course of integration.
“We have been assured by Police Scotland that the specialist knowledge, skills and experience of BTP officers and staff will be protected and maintained within Scotland’s wider policing service. As part of Police Scotland, railway policing will benefit from their local support, specialist resources and expertise.
“Cross-border policing will continue to be seamless in both directions. Police Scotland has excellent relationships with their counterparts and we are working with the UK Government to ensure police have appropriate powers for the entire duration of cross-border journeys.”
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins, of Police Scotland, said:
"We are committed to working with Scottish Government, BTP, Staff Associations, both Police Authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that should the Bill be passed that the integration of BTP (Scotland Division) with Police Scotland is seamless. The priority for Police Scotland is to ensure all of our communities, including people who work and use the rail network, are kept safe."
The Bill confers railway policing powers on the Scottish Police Authority and the Police Service of Scotland, and removes functions from the British Transport Police Authority and the British Transport Police, in preparation for the integration of the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland.
The Bill is an initial part of a larger programme of work needed to integrate the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland with subordinate legislation required in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments to deal with issues such as the transfer of staff, property and liabilities and cross-border railway policing functions.
The analysis of a consultation on integration of BTP into Police Scotland is available here.