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All Change in the Scottish Cabinet; Time to Save BTP

26 June 2018

As news broke that Michael Mathson and Humza Yousaf are swapping jobs, with Transport being raised to a Cabinet position in the Scottish Government, Manuel Cortes called for Humza Yousaf to take the opportunity to cancel the merger of the British Transport Police with Police Scotland.

Cortes said, “British Transport Police (BTP) work in a completely separate environment to Police Scotland. BTP officers and staff have an understanding of the unique safety and cultural conditions of policing on the railways. It simply isn’t the same as policing on the streets. From unique crimes such as theft of (potentially live) overhead wires, to unique tragedies such as dealing with the consequences of a fatality on the line, BTP are rail specialists working in the rail industry. It’s time that was acknowledged.

“I know that Humza is well aware of the concerns TSSA has over the merger. We’ve raised them many times with him. As a “new broom” in Justice he has the perfect opportunity to make the right decision.

“BTP has been treated as a political football for too long. The merger with Police Scotland is being driven through in the face of advice from all quarters. Academics, trade unions, HMICS, Police Officers and staff all agree that the merger is unnecessary and unwise. BTP don’t want it. Even Police Scotland don’t want the merger! The safety and security of Scotland’s rail passengers is too important to be treated as a political point-scoring exercise. Time to recognise BTP for what it is – an essential part of the safe and smoothing running of our railways and cancel the merger!”

Commenting on the Scottish Government’s Cabinet reshuffle, Manuel Cortes said, “It’s good to see the SNP finally acknowledge the importance of Transport to Scotland by granting the Minister a seat in the Cabinet. Like many ScotRail trains – it’s long overdue!
The Environment, Communities, and Tourism have all had a seat at the top table for a long time. Yet despite the important contribution Transport makes to the Scottish Economy, it’s been languishing outside the Cabinet – the Scottish Government’s key decision-making body.
It is incredible that an area so important to Scotland’s economy was so undervalued for so long.”


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