Rail unions claim victory as SNP Transport Police plans cancelled

The TSSA has welcomed the news that plans to break up British Transport Police have been shelved, with the Scottish government instead using existing legislation to establish a new committee, The Scottish Railways Policing Committee, to oversee railway policing in Scotland.

The committee will include members of both the British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) and the Scottish Police Authority.

A joint letter from the Scottish Government and the UK Government’s Department of Transport to around 200 BTP officers and staff in Scotland said the plan is now to set up the new committee providing greater oversight, rather than force a merger.

The letter said this means there will be “no impact on your current employment, and your pension, terms and conditions as BTP officers and staff.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes welcomed the change of heart by the SNP commenting: “I’m delighted that for the first time since 2014 our members have received written confirmation that their jobs, their pensions, terms and conditions will be safe. I’m glad that they can now finally breathe a sigh of relief. But they should never have been put through this stress."

“I also want to also thank our members too for their steadfast support for our union’s campaign to stop the SNP from messing-up railway policing in Scotland. They should take full credit for stopping this madness and savour this sweet moment and victory."

“There was never any need to break up BTP. All that was needed to fulfil the Smith Commission recommendation was for structures to be put in place to allow the Scottish Government to oversee railway policing in Scotland."

“But the then Justice Minister, Michael Matheson, plunged ahead with plans to break up BTP. Officers, staff, academics, and the bosses at BTP and Police Scotland all told Matheson it was a bad idea."

“But he ignored them all, putting his nationalist agenda ahead of Scotland’s national interest. The now Transport Minister is in danger of becoming Scotland’s equivalent of Failing Chris Grayling as his record at justice and now in transport are hardly what could be described as exlemplary."

“We’re glad to see that when he took over Humza Yousaf listened to our representatives, and others, and went back to the drawing board. This announcement to staff finally confirms that Matheson’s wholly unnecessary and unwanted break up of BTP in Scotland is dead and buried."


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