Union chief hits out at transport police move
Holyrood: National force ‘not fit’ to take on railways role
A planned merger of British Transport Police in Scotland with the country’s national force could spark “big delays” and hit rail firms in the pocket, a union leader has warned.
Manuel Cotres, general secretary of transport union TSSA, said BTP is a “super-efficient” service and Police Scotland “are not fit to take it over”.
Ministers at Holyrood have proposed legislation that would give power over railway policing to the force and the Scottish Police Authority watchdog.
BTP deputy chief constable Adrian Hancock has already told MSPs the plans could create an unnecessary “border” for officers.
He would prefer a new Transport Police Scotland to be created instead of the force being absorbed into Police Scotland.
Mr Cortes called on industry leaders such as Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter and Sir Richard Branson to speak out against the plans.
Mr Cortes said: “No one involved in the rail industry wants this merger.
“The BTP don’t want it, the BTP Federation don’t want it and rail unions don’t want it.
“UK cross-border rail safety is way too important to be reduced to a devolution issue. Scottish Labour don’t want it, Scottish Tories don’t want it. The drivers behind it are the SNP First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, her Justice Minister Michael Matheson and her Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.”
The union leader added: “The BTP is a highly-regarded, super-efficient, well-embedded cross-border service which needs absolutely no SNP fixing.
“It certainly doesn’t need merging into the troubled Police Scotland, who not fit to take it over.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said that the proposed changes had cross-party agreement.
Scottish Labour justice spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “BTP, officers, staff and unions are all against the SNP’s plans, now it looks like train bosses may be against them as well.
“We already have a transport police system that works and serves us well.” are
INDEPENDENT: British Transport Police are responsible for safety on the UK’s railways and are not connected to any one force