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Police Scotland to take over British Transport Police in Scotland? [Now on hold]

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och aye

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Not new news, but confirmation the Scot. Gov. are going to push ahead with this. The Conservatives have already said they will oppose the bill. Not sure on the stances of Labour, Greens or Lib Dems.
The Scottish Government is to press ahead with plans to integrate the British Transport Police into Police Scotland.

The Railway Policing Bill will put in place funding arrangements for the merger of BTP operations in Scotland with the cash-strapped national police force....

http://www.scotsman.com/news/police-scotland-to-merge-with-british-transport-police-1-4223713
 
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route:oxford

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Not new news, but confirmation the Scot. Gov. are going to push ahead with this. The Conservatives have already said they will oppose the bill. Not sure on the stances of Labour, Greens or Lib Dems.

The Scottish Government is to press ahead with plans to integrate the British Transport Police into Police Scotland.

The Railway Policing Bill will put in place funding arrangements for the merger of BTP operations in Scotland with the cash-strapped national police force.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/police-scotland-to-merge-with-british-transport-police-1-4223713

Oh dear.

A single Police Force for Scotland should have worked well. Turns out that whilst you can take "Strathclyde" off the branding, you can't get "Strathclyde" politics out of the police force.
 

Taunton

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the merger of BTP operations in Scotland with the cash-strapped national police force.
I understand they have plenty of funding initially, but only become cash-strapped after HQ-cum-politicians strip off large amounts for their own exciting vanity projects.

Getting the railway force as well is principally to get their hands on their funding as well. I wonder how they will dress it up as any form of policing benefit.
 

Peacock X

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B.T.P do not want to be merged with Police Scotland. It will be a disaster for passengers if this goes ahead.
 

cf111

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Great, yet another area for the seemingly unaccountable (and make no mistake this is by design) Police Scotland to control.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Oh dear.

A single Police Force for Scotland should have worked well. Turns out that whilst you can take "Strathclyde" off the branding, you can't get "Strathclyde" politics out of the police force.

I have to disagree with this - you can't police Shetland from the Central Belt, it was difficult enough doing it from Inverness.

I work with the police on a daily basis and it's getting worse because the probationers who weren't trained properly in the first place are now training the fresh batch of probationers. It's an unmitigated disaster.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The thread title is the reverse of the proposal.
It is proposed that BTP Scotland merges with Police Scotland.

BTP is actually funded by railway TOCs (6 in Scotland), and I imagine they would want the same level of accountability for that spend, wherever it sits.
 

Mag_seven

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Police Scotland to merge with British Transport Police

So let me get this right, the BTP in the whole of the UK will cease to exist and be replaced by Police Scotland? :)
 

sheff1

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Police Scotland to merge with British Transport Police

So let me get this right, the BTP in the whole of the UK will cease to exist and be replaced by Police Scotland? :)

No. That is telling us Police Scotland will cease to exist and BTP will be responsible for all policing matters north of the border.:o
 
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380101

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B.T.P do not want to be merged with Police Scotland. It will be a disaster for passengers if this goes ahead.

a large number of the BTP here in Scotland have or are in the progress of leaving the police. A good number secured trainee driver positions with Scotrail. A similar theme is ongoing in Police Scotland - over 800 officers up to the rank of Chief Inspector have resigned since April 2013. This is equivalent to the total number of officers in the former Northern Constabulary force area.

There are a lot of ex police currently in training with ScotRail as drivers.

If the BTP had been known here as the Scottish Transport Police there is no way the SNP would be pushing to integrate them with Police Scotland. Doesn't matter what colour of party you support or vote for, its the truth. The Rail industry doesn't want it; the BTP don't want it; Police Scotland couldn't cope with it and the public certainly don't want it. It'll be a irreversible decision that will have major consequences for policing of Scotland's railway.
 
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B.T.P do not want to be merged with Police Scotland. It will be a disaster for passengers if this goes ahead.

i can see there being serious issues with an utter absence of PTS trained officers fairly quickly - unless BTP(S) remains as a seperate force but Polis Scotland branded
 

380101

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i can see there being serious issues with an utter absence of PTS trained officers fairly quickly - unless BTP(S) remains as a seperate force but Polis Scotland branded

I don't think they even get PTS now either. They get plenty of training related to rail safety but no PTS.

The SNP assure that they will remain as a specialist railway policing unit. This is pie in the sky really as the black hole of police officer shortages in Police Scotland will swallow up the 240 odd BTP officers in jig time, no matter how many assurances Nicola Sturgeon gives.

Every BTP officer I speak to is against it.
 

47271

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Two negative assessments for the price of one here, and both in the Herald, normally slavish followers of the SNP line.



http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14831869.Scotland__39_s_railways_facing_new_strike_threat/

Unions warn of rail strike over British Transport Police force merger plan

SCOTLAND'S trains face crippling strike action if the Scottish Government presses ahead with controversial plans to merge British Transport Police with Police Scotland, rail union leaders have warned.

The devolution of British Transport Police (BTP) was a recommendation of the Smith Commission.

However, the Scottish Government’s plans to integrate the service with Police Scotland has proved controversial with critics claiming it would create inconsistencies for passengers who make cross-border journeys.


The proposed shake-up has also led to warnings that BTP officers could be taken away from their duties to bolster Police Scotland, giving rise to concerns about public safety on the railways.

Transport unions have claimed that the shake-up will mean that BTP no longer operates as a separate force in Scotland – losing the specialist skills and identity that have been built up over many years, with concerns about an inferior policing service that would impact on staff and passengers.

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), said there could be strike action by railway workers if the government presses ahead with merger plans.

Cortes said any dispute would be on health and safety grounds as he claimed the merger could impact on the safety of rail workers and the public.

The union leader, who held talks with Scotland's transport minister Humza Yousaf last week about the issue, said industrial action would be a last resort, but stated it was a possibility next summer if the government pressed ahead with the changes.

Cortes said: "We don't see any need for a break up of the British Transport Police. The feeling from our members is that the public needs to be able to rely on a safe transport system and if that safety is diminished then it become a real issue for our union and other unions...If it comes to a health and safety issue about our members and public protection there may be a move towards [a ballot for industrial action] among our membership."


Kevin Lindsay, Scottish secretary of the train drivers’ union Aslef and Gordon Martin, regional organiser of the RMT rail union for Scotland, said their members had also not ruled out taking strike action over the changes to the BTP if the safety of workers and passengers was put at risk

Lindsay said: "We've not ruled out taking industrial action as we won't see our members or the public put at risk. The government needs a change of direction over its plans as this looks very much like a cost saving exercise.

"The British Transport Police is a force with specialised skills and if it was merged into Police Scotland over time there would be a dilution of these skills. At the moment the Scottish Government is certainly not listening to us."

Martin, of the RMT, echoing the criticism, said: "If they are hell-bent on going down that route and if our members were put at risk [industrial action] may be an option. We would need to see a huge decline in the standard of service for that to happen."

However, a Scottish Government spokesperson, defending the planned changes, said: “Specialist railway policing expertise and capacity will be maintained and protected within the broader structure of the Police Scotland force.

“Devolution of BTP was recommended by the Smith Commission, reached through cross-party agreement. The integration with Police Scotland will enhance railway policing through direct access to the local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland to build upon the high levels of personal safety and security currently enjoyed by passengers and staff across the Scottish rail network.”




http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/...rger_may_expose_Scotland_to_terrorist_attack/

Chiefs warn British Transport Police force merger may expose Scotland to terrorist attack

A PLANNED takeover of British Transport Police risks exposing Scotland to a terrorist attack, the force has warned.

The Scottish Government has put forward controversial proposals to merge the specialist service with Police Scotland, although a series of concerns about the move have been raised.

In a submission to Holyrood’s justice committee, BTP highlighted the “very real” threat posed by terrorists to the transport network and warned potential attackers may seek to exploit “disjointed” arrangements within the UK.


The force said: “There are significant examples of UK-based terrorist groups planning attacks against the West, as well as an escalation in extremist left and right-wing groups and the still real threat from dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland.

“Furthermore, the nature of the threat is changing, with intensified danger from ‘lone-actors’ using low sophistication, high impact attacks in crowded places including railway carriages and stations.

“These developments have underlined the importance of ensuring there is an integrated approach to counter-terrorism... an attack in Scotland may well be prevented in England.”

It added: “Any perceived vulnerability arising from disjointed protective arrangements could be exploited by those planning an attack. It is therefore important for officials to consider how a devolved model could retain the current seamless counter terrorism approach as well as enable a swift and assured tactical response.

The SNP has insisted it is pushing ahead with its plans to integrate BTP into Police Scotland, meaning more than 200 specialist officers will transfer to the national force, with new powers in the area being transferred to Edinburgh.

Critics have pointed to high public satisfaction rates recorded for BTP and said Police Scotland, which has been hit by a series of scandals since it was set up in 2013, is ill-equipped to take on more responsibility.

The British Transport Police Federation, which represents frontline officers, said in its submission that no evidence had been put forward to clearly show the benefits of dismantling the force in Scotland.


The organisation fears officers will be asked to carry out other duties, diluting their specialism and compromising their relationship with the public and the rail industry that funds them.

The Federation also warned that the merger could prove complex and expensive, with Police Scotland already on course to overspend its budget this year by £17.5 million.

Douglas Ross, justice spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives, described the evidence as “extremely troubling”. He added: “As we have been warning, BTP officers could end up being used to plug gaps in Police Scotland. More worryingly, as the BTP say, the lack of an integrated service could be exploited by those planning a terrorist attack.

“The SNP government has other options on the table that are consistent with the agreement to devolve control of BTP. It has failed entirely to explain why it is pressing ahead with its own reckless plan.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Specialist railway policing expertise and capacity will be maintained and protected within the broader structure of the Police Scotland force.

“Devolution of BTP was recommended by the Smith Commission, reached through cross-party agreement. The integration with Police Scotland will enhance railway policing through direct access to the local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland to build upon the high levels of personal safety and security currently enjoyed by passengers and staff across the Scottish rail network.”
 
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thenorthern

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Given that British Transport Police is mostly funded by the rail companies will this change post merger?

Unions warn of rail strike over British Transport Police force merger plan

Given that police are forbidden from going on strike its rather odd that the unions can only ballot people who aren't directly affected.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Unions warn of rail strike over British Transport Police force merger plan

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14831869.Scotland__39_s_railways_facing_new_strike_threat/

SCOTLAND'S trains face crippling strike action if the Scottish Government presses ahead with controversial plans to merge British Transport Police with Police Scotland, rail union leaders have warned.

I am unaware of which trades union represents the British Transport Police and ask if someone could be so kind as to inform me of this. I ask as mention is made of strike action by "rail union leaders" as stated above.
 

47271

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I am unaware of which trades union represents the British Transport Police and ask if someone could be so kind as to inform me of this. I ask as mention is made of strike action by "rail union leaders" as stated above.
According to the second of the two articles I quoted, sorry if my formatting's a bit ropey, the British Transport Police Federation. They're not threatening to go on strike but are warning of the risks caused by the merger.
 

jimm

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I am unaware of which trades union represents the British Transport Police and ask if someone could be so kind as to inform me of this. I ask as mention is made of strike action by "rail union leaders" as stated above.

Maybe try reading all of the stories that have been posted above - not just the headlines - which make clear any talk of strike action comes from the RMT and TSSA, ie possible action by their members, not by the BTP officers.

The police officers are represented by the British Transport Police Federation.
 

maniacmartin

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One of the biggest criticisms of the BTP on this forum from staff is that there are never any of them around when you need them. Could merging with a bigger force in Scotland mean that there is more likely to be an officer who can attend nearby to any incident?

Of course it could also mean that minor railway incidents go to the bottom of the priority queue and police are less likely to attend if they are busy dealing with other non-railway incidents...

That said, I've always found it odd that the railways still have what is effectively their own private police force in 2016
 
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thenorthern

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Has Holyrood mentioned if railway policing will remain separate from territorial police as from what I understand rail police are good for knowing things that Territorial Police don't such as when is someone traveling with intent to avoid payment, which rail is the live one and when can you refuse someone entry to a station.

Mind you though many territorial police officers and especially I have come across seem to make up laws that don't exist or abuse their power to make something sound illegal when its not.

I am unaware of which trades union represents the British Transport Police and ask if someone could be so kind as to inform me of this. I ask as mention is made of strike action by "rail union leaders" as stated above.

British Transport Police Constables can't join unions or take industrial action as they are sworn police officers and one of the few occupations prevented from this. The Police Federation is the body that represents Police but its legally not a Trade Union

BTP PCSOs on the other hand can join unions if they wish to and they also can take industrial action but as far as I am aware there are no PCSOs in Scotland from British Transport Police or Police Scotland so its meaningless.
 

380101

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One of the biggest criticisms of the BTP on this forum from staff is that there are never any of them around when you need them. Could merging with a bigger force in Scotland mean that there is more likely to be an offer who can attend nearby to any incident?

Unlikely to change. Whilst the SNP government continue to assure us that the merger will not affect policing of the railway, it is almost guaranteed to affect it. Police Scotland currently struggle to have the correct amount of officers on duty as it is due to the mass exodus of fed up, demoralised and tired officers. large urban areas often only have 5-6 officers on duty at night over the weekends which is totally inadequate. The extra officers gained from BTP will merely bolster normal police shift numbers. This will see the level of rail policing falling drastically.

Fortunately the current government is a minority one and the railway policing (Scotland) Bill may struggle to pass through parliament in its current state. Hopefully the opposition parties make a few ammendments to keep BTP separate but with Scottish government control as the Smith commission envisioned - not a quick and easy way to boost Police Scotland numbers.
 
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I am unaware of which trades union represents the British Transport Police and ask if someone could be so kind as to inform me of this. I ask as mention is made of strike action by "rail union leaders" as stated above.

BTP Officers are represented by The Fed / Supts Assc / the police chiefs thingy that replaced ACPO ...

however given the mindset of the rail unions i'm sure they will find an reason / excuse to threaten / deliver industrial action
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
One of the biggest criticisms of the BTP on this forum from staff is that there are never any of them around when you need them. Could merging with a bigger force in Scotland mean that there is more likely to be an offer who can attend nearby to any incident?

no, because it will mean the few specialist Officers will be dragged into general policing and unfortunately a PTS card and some orange hi vis is not as much of political hot potato as a Glock when it comes to Specialised officers having to do general policing work.

Might be marginally beneficial at medium stations where the local bobbies will not long be able to shirk dealing with ASB / drunkeness etc
 

thenorthern

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A good thing as well about British Transport Police was it didn't have the territorial police borders for example if they expect Trouble on a train from Manchester to Nottingham they can put police officers on the train as thats what the officers are at the end of the day paid to do.

With territorial police forces though Greater Manchester Police, Derbyshire Constabulary, South Yorkshire Police and Nottinghamshire Police may in theory argue once the train had crossed the border it was no longer their responsibility.
 

R4_GRN

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SNP history of managing the police is not good, crackers mccasgill was a disaster.

If they cannot manage the police force why should we trust them to manage the transport police?

You have to prove you are competent before people will trust you with more responsibility
 

Highland37

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Unlikely to change. Whilst the SNP government continue to assure us that the merger will not affect policing of the railway, it is almost guaranteed to affect it. Police Scotland currently struggle to have the correct amount of officers on duty as it is due to the mass exodus of fed up, demoralised and tired officers. large urban areas often only have 5-6 officers on duty at night over the weekends which is totally inadequate. The extra officers gained from BTP will merely bolster normal police shift numbers. This will see the level of rail policing falling drastically.

Fortunately the current government is a minority one and the railway policing (Scotland) Bill may struggle to pass through parliament in its current state. Hopefully the opposition parties make a few ammendments to keep BTP separate but with Scottish government control as the Smith commission envisioned - not a quick and easy way to boost Police Scotland numbers.



I do wonder if some people live in an alternative reality. What "mass exodus"?

I was speaking to my brother in law yesterday, who is a policeman in Police Scotland, and a mass exodus is a long way from what is happening.

Why make stuff up?
 

jimm

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BTP Officers are represented by The Fed / Supts Assc / the police chiefs thingy that replaced ACPO ...

As stated above by two of us, most BTP officers are represented by the British Transport Police Federation - which is a separate body from the Police Federation, which represents officers from the county and regional police forces in England and Wales, and its Scottish counterpart, the Scottish Police Federation.

BTP Superintendents and Chief Superintendents, like officers of the same ranks in other forces, can indeed join the Police Superintendents' Association.

But the body representing the most senior ranks in respect of pay negotiations, terms of employment, etc is the Chief Police Officers' Staff Association, whereas the National Police Chiefs' Council, which replaced ACPO, deals with policing policies and operations.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I do wonder if some people live in an alternative reality. What "mass exodus"?

I was speaking to my brother in law yesterday, who is a policeman in Police Scotland, and a mass exodus is a long way from what is happening.

Why make stuff up?

380101 is not 'making stuff up' - the figure of 800 resignations of police officers in Scotland since 2013 is a matter of public record.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/657573/Police-crisis-800-quit-resign
 
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SpacePhoenix

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If you take PTS and orange high vis out of the equation, are BTP officers and Police Scotland offices then the same (rules, regs, powers, etc), if they are if the merger does go ahead, would there be any benefit in all Police Scotland offices doing PTS (how often does PTS have to be re-tested/renewed) and being issued with orange high vis?
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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I thank those who answered my earlier query and now ask is it legal for any of the rail unions to take industrial action over a matter that concerns the BTP alone and makes no threat to the members of the rail unions membership.

Could this be taken as being what was once described as being "in sympathy"?
 

Agent_c

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I thank those who answered my earlier query and now ask is it legal for any of the rail unions to take industrial action over a matter that concerns the BTP alone and makes no threat to the members of the rail unions membership.

Could this be taken as being what was once described as being "in sympathy"?

It is my understanding the law only protects workers involved with a workplace dispute with their employer. As there is no dispute with the worker-employer relationship, sympathy strikes are not protected (and thus any action would see the employee at risk of disciplinary action for non attendance, or otherwise face the consequences of breach of contract)

I think the RMT, ASLEF, et al, could if they were so inclined have a picket or demonstration of off-duty railwaymen.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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I think the RMT, ASLEF, et al, could if they were so inclined have a picket or demonstration of off-duty railwaymen.

Am I right in assuming that under Civil Law, a picket line can be joined as long as the picketing:-
A)...Is connected to a trade dispute in which you are involved in
B)...Is carried out at or near a place of your own workplace
C)...Is carried out peacefully.
 

oldman

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Their spokesmen have said that the unions would only consider strike action if the standard of policing deteriorated to the point where their members' safety was affected. It would not therefore be sympathy action.
 
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