The Integration of the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland - A Consultation

This consultation paper sets out proposed arrangements to integrate the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland. It invites views on how all those responsible can: ensure a smooth transition towards integration; ensure railway policing i

Chapter 2: Existing And Proposed Structures

29. A brief overview of the BTP in Scotland and Police Scotland is provided below by way of background on the structures in place at present and how they can be integrated in the most effective and efficient way.

The BTP in Scotland

30. The BTP was established by the UK Government's Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 to act as a national railway police service, accountable to the Chief Constable, the BTPA and through them to the UK Parliament.

31. The Scottish Division of BTP is known within the BTP structure as D Division. It covers the rail network throughout Scotland and the Glasgow Subway network. BTP D Division has responsibility for policing around 2,800 kilometres of track and 358 stations, including the 7 Borders Railway stations which opened in September 2015.

32. The range of duties covered by the BTP includes the protection of the railway environment, ensuring the safety of passengers both at stations and on trains, and keeping levels of disruption, crime and the fear of crime as low as possible.

33. BTP D Division Police Officer and staff numbers (full time equivalent) by location in 2014-15 are set out in the table below:

BTP D Division Police Officer and Staff Numbers by Location in 2014-15

  Officers Staff Total
Kirkcaldy 4   4
Perth 8   8
Edinburgh 49 1.9 50.9
Falkirk     0
Stirling 4   4
Glasgow Central 13 0.9 13.9
Glasgow Queen St 14   14
Inverness 5   5
Aberdeen 8 0.4 8.4
Kilwinning 8   8
Dundee 4   4
Paisley 4   4
Dalmuir 4   4
Motherwell 7   7
Cowcaddens 93.6 52.3 145.9
Total 225.6 55.5 281.1

34. The BTP does not own any properties in Scotland, but occupies 15 premises at: Aberdeen, Dalmuir, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness, Kilwinning, Kirkcaldy, Motherwell, Paisley, Perth and Stirling, with 4 premises in Glasgow.

35. There are several assets that are located within D Division that have been funded through the BTP capital programme, such as vehicles, radios, IT, office furniture, police equipment and specialist railway policing items of TSU (Technical Support Unit) equipment held by D Division.

36. It is proposed that the SPA and BTPA should develop a joint project plan to consider the transfer, governance and accounting for BTP estates, assets and liabilities on the integration of the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland.

The Structure of Policing in Scotland

37. The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 provides the statutory basis for policing in Scotland. It established the Scottish Police Authority and Police Service of Scotland, replacing the arrangements previously set out in the Police (Scotland) Act 1967. Police Scotland was established on 1 April 2013 as a national policing service accountable to the SPA and subject to Parliamentary and local government scrutiny arrangements [2] .

38. The Chief Constable of Police Scotland has authority to determine how to deliver operational policing and Police Scotland allocate police officers and operational resources across three tiers - local, regional and national.

39. Police Scotland has 6 specialist divisions and 13 local policing divisions across the country. Each of the 13 local divisions is led by a Divisional Commander (Chief Superintendent) who is responsible for the delivery of response and community policing, and each division also has a Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit and a rape investigation unit. In addition, every Divisional Commander has access to additional specialist resources at a regional and national level such as major investigation teams, serious and organised crime units, armed policing, dogs, air support and mountain rescue.

40. The 6 specialist divisions within Police Scotland are:

  • Specialist Crime
  • Operational Support
  • Licensing and Violence Reduction
  • Contact, Command and Control
  • Criminal Justice
  • Custody

41. Commanded by an Assistant Chief Constable, Operational Support has specialist units for: Road Policing, Specialist Services (including armed response, dog branch, air support, dive and marine, mounted branch and mountain rescue), and Emergency, Events and Resilience Planning. Operational Support reports to the Deputy Chief Constable with responsibility for Crime and Operational Support. It sits alongside Police Scotland's Specialist Crime Division, whose responsibilities include Border Policing Command, which is committed to keeping people safe at Scotland's airports, ferry and seaports by countering the threat from international and domestic terrorism and the exploitation of borders and ports from serious and organised crime.

42. Police Scotland has indicated its intention to maintain a specialist railway policing function within this broader Police Scotland structure, and has identified obvious options as a specialist railway policing function as part of Operational Support Division, or aligning railway policing with Border Policing Command. This will maintain the specialist skills, knowledge and experience BTP officers and staff have built. This integrated structure will allow railway policing to be enhanced with the wider local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland in response to pre-planned operations or emergency response, and provide opportunities for innovation to ensure that the policing of Scotland's transport infrastructure is well-equipped to meet current and emerging threats.

Cross-border and partnership working

43. The Scottish Government will work in partnership with the UK Government, BTP, BTPA, Police Scotland and other key stakeholders to ensure a seamless transition of railway policing from BTP to Police Scotland. This will include ensuring that railway policing continues to operate effectively on train services crossing the border in both directions.

44. BTP officers in Scotland and in England have a strong track record of joint working on cross-border routes, and in tackling crime affecting the railway network on both sides of the border. This expertise already involves working across the two separate legal systems, and in partnership with the different territorial police forces.

45. Similarly, Police Scotland already has strong relationships and agreements with the BTP and police services in the other parts of the UK with well-established processes for joint working across regional and functional boundaries.

46. We all want to ensure that these successful and established mechanisms for policing across borders are applied to future aspects of railway policing. The Scottish Government (working with the UK Government, where appropriate) and its range of partners will assess the range of cross-border arrangements and put in place any amendments to legislation and formal procedures necessary to ensure that railway policing across boundaries continues to operate seamlessly and effectively.


Q2: What are your views on how to ensure that the skills, knowledge and experience of BTP officers are retained within Police Scotland?


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