Chapter 3: Governance And Accountability
The British Transport Police Authority
47. Strategic rail planning is carried out at a UK level on a 5-year cycle known as Control Periods ( CP) determined by the Office of Rail and Road. The British Transport Police Authority ( BTPA), established under the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, is an independent body responsible for overseeing the BTP, setting its priorities and allocating its funding. It is appointed by and accountable to the UK Government's Secretary of State for Transport. Its statutory functions include maintaining an effective and efficient police force to police the railways; entering into agreements for the provision of policing services by that force; setting annual objectives and issuing an annual plan for policing the railways.
48. The BTPA is approaching the mid-point of its 2013-2019 strategic plan covering the current CP5, with CP6 due to start on 1 April 2019. Within this planning cycle, the BTP has a Strategic Plan, as agreed with the BTPA, which sets out what it intends to achieve and deliver in a Control Period. In addition to its Strategic Plan, the BTP also publishes annual policing plans covering both local and national objectives. The plan for BTP D Division in Scotland sets out how it will police the railway network and operator services in Scotland, and is published online in the BTP Annual Policing Plan.
The Scottish Police Authority
49. The Scottish Police Authority ( SPA) was established under the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012. The SPA's main statutory functions as set out in section 2 of the Act are to: maintain the Police Service of Scotland; promote the statutory policing principles; promote and support continuous improvement in the policing of Scotland; keep the policing of Scotland under review; and hold the Chief Constable to account for the policing of Scotland.
50. The SPA is responsible for ensuring the delivery of the strategic police priorities set by Scottish Ministers. These strategic police priorities for Scotland are presently under review through a formal Scottish Government consultation exercise.
51. The SPA produces a Strategic Police Plan which sets out the main objectives for the SPA and for policing in Scotland. The SPA also produces a non-statutory Annual Business Plan which provides detail on how corporate objectives will be delivered in year. Police Scotland produces an Annual Police Plan which describes how the arrangements for policing in that year will contribute towards the achievement of the objectives set out in the SPA's Strategic Police Plan. These are underpinned by Local Policing Plans for each of the 32 Local Authority areas in Scotland.
52. In September 2015, the Cabinet Secretary for Justice asked the SPA Chair to lead a comprehensive review of Police Governance and Accountability; this review reported in March 2016, with details on the SPA website at: http://www.spa.police.uk/about-us/governancereview
53. We propose that, following integration, the SPA would become responsible for ensuring that railway policing priorities are included in its Strategic Police Plan. Railway policing priorities should be set by SPA following engagement with the railway industry in Scotland, and consideration will need to be given as to how the SPA can best engage with the rail industry and passengers.
Q3: What do you see as the best way for SPA to engage with the rail industry and passengers in setting railway policing priorities?
54. The BTP in Scotland is funded through contributions from the railway industry, whereby Network Rail, Train Operating Companies ( TOCs) and Freight Operating Companies ( FOCs) enter into a Police Services Agreement ( PSA) with the BTPA, in terms of which they pay for the core policing services they receive. For example, both Abellio ScotRail Limited and Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited (the ScotRail and Sleeper franchisees) have entered into PSAs for the new franchises which commenced on 1 April 2015.
55. Each TOC and FOC must, as part of its evidence of suitability to operate a franchise, enter into a PSA under the provision specified within the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. In addition, article 2 of the British Transport Police (Police Services Agreements) Order 2004 requires that a person who provides railway services and holds certain types of licence (including a licence under section 8 of the Railways Act 1993 to operate railway assets e.g. passenger or freight trains, networks or stations) must enter into a PSA.
56. The cost of railway policing in Scotland is currently over £21 million. This cost is effectively supported by franchise payments and subsidies from the Scottish Government as part of its annual investment of over £700 million per annum in Scottish rail infrastructure and rail passenger services.
57. The exact costs payable under each PSA are calculated through the current version of the BTPA Cost Allocation Model which calculates the contribution for each PSA holder based on a number of factors including staffing levels, track access charges, station usage, train kilometres, footfall data, size of railway network, patronage and crime levels. This model could not easily be replicated for an area such as Scotland which is heavily dominated by a single franchise, ScotRail, which operates a significant majority of all rail services in Scotland.
58. In managing future cost the options open to Scottish Government would therefore be to create a new cost allocation model; to amend the existing BTPA model to suit the circumstances in Scotland; or to develop another mechanism for agreeing the budget and cost of railway policing.
59. The Scottish Government proposes to maintain the current direct relationship between railway policing and the railway industry in Scotland through an amended PSA, which recognises that the services will be provided by Police Scotland rather than BTP, and the different legislative background which applies to services provided by Police Scotland. We would welcome comments on how best to create realistic and deliverable PSAs, and on what factors should be included in any new or amended PSAs for railway policing in Scotland.
60. The Scottish Government also seeks to maintain and enhance the current railway policing service provided to railway operators, and to ensure that they will have clear sight of the payment structure required to provide this. We would welcome views on what methods would best maintain the relationship between railway industry funding and the cost of policing the railways in Scotland. For example, should we retain the inclusion of key data such as passenger numbers, freight tonnage and train-kilometres to help calculate the costs and budget requirements for railway policing?
61. We recognise the interest other UK operators and PSA holders have in the effective integration of railway policing in Scotland into Police Scotland. We strongly believe that existing practices and agreements relating to current cross border policing activities, for both civil and railway policing, will offer a practical solution for operational activities and provide a seamless provision of railway policing across the UK. Following integration we fully expect that railway policing in Scotland will maintain the close working relationship it currently enjoys with BTP in England and Wales, ensuring at least a similar level of railway policing that passengers and goods travelling across the border currently receive.
62. We wish to consider providing cross-border operators with greater certainty by setting a fixed charge for the portion of their services operating in Scotland. We also consider that a revised PSA may be more appropriate, and could offer greater clarity on the policing services being provided. This could potentially fit better with the rail industry structure in Scotland, whereas elsewhere in the UK there is often a much greater number of operators working across the same geographical areas.
Q4: What amendments to the current cost allocation regime should we consider?
Q5: What do you think should be included in a revised PSA to maintain or enhance the policing service currently provided?