7. Assessing Impact
In integrating the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland the public sector equality duty requires the Scottish Government to pay due regard to the need to:
Eliminate discrimination, victimisation, harassment or other unlawful conduct that is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010; advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not; and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic.
These three requirements apply across the "protected characteristics" of: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion and belief; and sex and sexual orientation.
Question 8: Are there any likely impacts the proposals contained in this consultation document may have on particular groups of people, with reference to the "protected characteristics" listed above? Please be as specific as possible.
7.1 62 respondents addressed this question. A small number of other respondents commented that they could not find a listing of the protected characteristics and were therefore unable to pass comment  .
7.2 14 respondents comprising individuals and rail industry organisations could not identify any likely impacts the proposals may have on particular groups of people.
7.3 Amongst the other respondents, the most common view was that the travelling public and the railway workforce, who will included those with protected characteristics, could be impacted negatively if the level of policing diminishes:
"The most likely impact is that officers will be diverted from their current roles to support an under strength general force, and losing presence on railways will put people at risk, will encourage anti-social behaviour which in turn will result in a loss of confidence in the public to use our rail services, particularly late at night" (Individual respondent).
7.4 Concern was expressed by a few respondents that the current BTP policy and protocol, aimed at protecting vulnerable groups, may not continue under the new regime. For example, vulnerable staff may feel pressurised into taking redundancy; specialist training for BTP officers on positive action and practices to protect such groups may no longer be delivered; and initiatives aimed at containing incidents (such as discreet text reporting of incidents on trains) may be discontinued.
7.5 Concerns were raised that the proposals may result in an increase in hate crimes based on race, religion or sexual orientation. Several respondents referred to additional risk on cross-border services late at night, particularly when carrying football supporters which may be posed if the railway policing on such services is not seamless.
7.6 A few individual respondents provided their view that the separation of BTP in Scotland from the rest of the UK created an arbitrary division which contributed to fuelling hate crime against the rest of the UK.
7.7 Lower levels of specialist BTP officers to deal with suicide prevention was anticipated by a few respondents who considered that people with mental health problems may be disadvantaged by the proposals. Calls were made for initiatives such as "Operation Avert" to continue along with the maintenance of expertise and multi-agency working in this field.
7.8 Older members of BTP staff and those already retired and receiving pensions were highlighted as possibly impacted by the proposals if pensions are changed to their detriment.
7.9 Staff with caring responsibilities were identified as potentially disadvantaged by the proposals if required to re-locate or change their working patterns.
7.10 One individual commented that they had a disability and would feel less comfortable and more vulnerable travelling post-integration.
Business and regulation
Question 9: Do you think the proposals contained in this consultation are likely to increase or reduce the costs and burdens placed on any sector? Please be as specific as possible.
7.11 88 respondents addressed this question. The vast majority of these envisaged an increase in costs due to the proposals; a few individuals said they needed more details before being able to give informed comment.
Views on increased costs
7.12 Many respondents provided their general view that costs would generally increase without being more specific on which costs and which sector would bear this burden.
7.13 Most commonly, however, additional costs were identified for Police Scotland:
- Initial costs of integration relating to re-branding; computer equipment and networks; other specialist equipment; uniforms; taking over BTP assets in Scotland.
- Maintenance of BTP pensions; assimilation of different pensions; taking over the estimated £92 million pension liability.
- Specialist training provision for railway policing.
- Lack of economy of scale with some core BTP services still required, for example, counter terrorism training.
- Higher levels of sickness due to lower staff morale.
- Redundancy/resettlement packages.
- More calls on general police officers to fill in for lower levels of railway police.
- Increase in levels of railway crime.
- More time spent on railway incidents due to lack of specialist expertise.
- Handling disputes which are currently resolved under one legal framework.
7.14 Many respondents identified potential increased costs for the rail industry:
- Dealing with increase in crime due to lower levels of specialist railway police.
- Costs of putting in place private security arrangements to meet the shortfall in policing envisaged.
- Rail staff experiencing more crime.
- Requirement for additional PSAs.
- Liaison costs due to dealing with one general force rather than a smaller specialist body.
- Loss of customers to other modes of transport.
- Business interruption costs due to slower response times by Police Scotland.
7.15 A minority of respondents identified potential increased costs for other bodies. Tax payers in Scotland and rail passengers in Scotland were identified as potentially paying for the additional costs to Police Scotland and the rail industry. Local authority respondents considered that there could be indirect costs to public bodies and local services. One individual respondent suggested that the NHS in Scotland and the criminal justice system may experience a knock-on cost impact. A rail industry organisation identified BTP and BTPA as bearing some of the costs of bringing into effect the transfer of function to Police Scotland.
7.16 One rail industry organisation and a campaign group highlighted potential negative impacts to BTP and the rail industry in England and Wales due to loss of economies of scale.
7.17 Three individuals and one rail industry organisation considered that proposals could be cost-neutral.
7.18 Seven respondents, including individuals, rail industry and representative organisations, predicted savings in the longer term as potential efficiencies in practices are realised.
Question 10: Are there any likely impacts the proposals contained in this consultation may have upon the privacy of individuals? Please be as specific as possible.
7.19 Very few respondents provided any substantive comment in relation to this question. Around 30 respondents, including individuals and rail industry organisations explicitly stated that they did not consider there would be any likely impacts on the privacy of individuals.
7.20 As documented earlier, the Scottish Information Commissioner commented on the likely volume of personal data to be transferred to Police Scotland as a result of integration.
7.21 A small number of individual respondents suggested that potential impacts on individual privacy may arise from:
- Negotiation over pensions.
- Harmonisation of other terms and conditions.
- Transfer of data from BTP to Police Scotland relating to ongoing investigations, including personal data of victims and witnesses.
- Potential increase in stop-searches undertaken on the rail network by general officers rather than specialist BTP officers.
Question 11: Are there any likely impacts the proposals contained in this consultation may have upon the environment. Please be as specific as possible.
7.22 37 respondents provided a clear response to the question. Of these, 18 provided their view that there are no likely impacts of the proposals on the environment.
7.23 Two respondents considered that there could potentially be beneficial environmental impacts if railway policing services are enhanced and a smoothly operating rail service results.
7.24 Others identified potential negative environmental impacts as a result of the proposals:
- Transport-mode switch by freight and passenger customers who change to forms of less environmentally-friendly transport due to concerns over safety on the railway.
- Higher CO2 emissions if officers have to travel further by road to reach rail destinations. Those travelling to cross-border locations such as Carlisle were mentioned in particular.
- Train delays due to slower response to incidents and handling of them when on site.
- Paper wasted on the policy proposals.
- Pollution associated with new hardware, uniforms and equipment for Police Scotland that need not otherwise be created.