Trans­port po­lice mem­bers urge SNP to drop plans for force ‘de­vo­lu­tion’ in face of ter­ror threat In our coun­try to­day’ says May

The Scotsman - - News Digest - By CHRIS MAR­SHALL

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has been urged to sus­pend con­tro­ver­sial rail­way polic­ing plans amid the “on­go­ing and sig­nif­i­cant threat from ter­ror­ism”.

In a let­ter to trans­port min­is­ter Humza Yousaf, the Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion said press­ing ahead with the in­te­gra­tion of BTP’S op­er­a­tions north of the Bor­der into Po­lice Scot­land would put lives at risk.

BTP Fed­er­a­tion chair­man Nigel Good­band said: “Given the re­cent ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Manch­ester and Lon­don, and the on­go­ing and sig­nif­i­cant threat from ter­ror­ism, I am writ­ing to you as a mat­ter of ur­gency to

im­plore you to sus­pend the Rail­way Polic­ing (Scot­land) Bill.

“The threat from ter­ror­ism is se­vere. The two most re­cent at­tacks in Manch­ester and Lon­don Bridge had a se­ri­ous im­pact on the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture, and Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice has been heav­ily in­volved in both in­ci­dents. As we all too trag­i­cally know the UK’S in­fra­struc­ture and trans­port hubs are likely to fig­ure highly on any ter­ror­ist’s tar­get list.”

He con­tin­ued: “In both Lon­don and Manch­ester, pas­sen­gers have ben­e­fited from a more se­cure en­vi­ron­ment and the re­as­sur­ing pres­ence of armed po­lice of­fi­cers.”

Mr Good­band said it would be “im­pru­dent” to place pas­sen­gers and staff at risk dur­ing what it called a “time of vul­ner­a­bil­ity”.

He added: “BTP Fed­er­a­tion firmly be­lieves that the trav­el­ling pub­lic and the rail­way staff in Scot­land will be safer if they con­tinue to be po­liced by of­fi­cers of the BTP, who have un­ri­valled ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing in polic­ing the rail­way in­fra­struc­ture in the face of such a threat.”

The fed­er­a­tion’s in­ter­ven­tion fol­lows the cre­ation of an on­line pe­ti­tion by the Trans­port Salaried Staffs’ As­so­ci­a­tion (TSSA) which calls on min­is­ters to ditch the leg­is­la­tion.

TSSA gen­eral sec­re­tary Manuel Cortes said: “The SNP have been put on no­tice that they have no man­date to drive through de­vo­lu­tion [of rail­way polic­ing] for de­vo­lu­tion’s sake.

“Rail safety is not a po­lit­i­cal prin­ci­ple. It is a pub­lic ne­ces­sity and the SNP would do well to heed the lack of mood in Scot­land for their Na­tion­al­ist in­ter­est be­ing placed over the na­tional in­ter­est.”

A spokesman for Mr Yousaf said: “Main­tain­ing and im­prov­ing safety and se­cu­rity is our main pri­or­ity and Po­lice Scot­land will main­tain a ded­i­cated rail­way polic­ing unit.

“In­te­gra­tion will pro­vide a sin­gle com­mand struc­ture for polic­ing in Scot­land with seam­less ac­cess to wider sup­port fa­cil­i­ties and spe­cial­ist re­sources in­clud­ing Po­lice Scot­land’s counter-ter­ror­ism ca­pa­bil­i­ties, pro­vid­ing an en­hanced ser­vice pro­vi­sion to the rail in­dus­try and trav­el­ling pub­lic.”

Clock­wise from main: Po­lice form a cor­don near the Fins­bury Park mosque fol­low­ing the at­tack; the van al­legedly used in the in­ci­dent; Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Govern­ment Sec­re­tary Sa­jid Javid ad­dresses the me­dia out­side the mosque; the al­leged at­tacker Dar­ren Os­borne; po­lice out­side his home in Cardiff as it is searched

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