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Battle for BTP moves to Lords

10 January 2018

The battle to save British Transport Police (BTP) will move the House of Lords tonight.

A UK wide, integrated BTP is at the point of extinction following controversial moves last year by the Scottish government to break it up by merging its Scottish Operations into Police Scotland.

TSSA passenger groups, Scottish Labour, Scottish Tories, BTP, BTP Federation and otherr rail unions all oppose the politically motivated move which puts the SNP interests ahead of the national interest. A TSSA petition in Scotland collected more than 10,000 signatures opposing the break-up.

Opponents are united in their concern that the break up is being forced through without risk assessment and because it will will reduce the safety and efficiency of rail travel both in Scotland and across the border.

Lord George Foulkes of Cumnock will tonight (Weds) lead the opposition to the merger in the House of Lords where the devolution of BTP will be debated.

The Labour peer will call on Scottish Office Minister, Lord Duncan, to back a different democratic model which stops BTP being broken up whilst increasing its accountability in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament. But he says, Tory Transport Secretary also has the power to halt the merger and is calling on him to uses it.

Said Lord Foulkes,

"The decision by the Scottish government to press ahead with the break-up of BTP is politically rather than operationally motivated. It is a gift to terrorists because it reduces security, it is operational difficult and it is not wanted by public, passengers or indeed the police.

"We will be proposing a different model to Scottish Office Minister, Lord Duncan and instead of the integration of BTP with Police Scotland, the Chief Constable of BTP can report directly to the Scottish Parliament and that way they get the best of both worlds - an independent rail police which is democratically accountable in Scotland.

"There is also another get out, because for the devolution to happen, the Secretary of Stare for Transport, Chris Grayling has to transfer all the assets of British Transport Police to Police Scotland. In the interests of all British passenger safety and railway efficiency, he can prevent this merger being forced upon is all."

Said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes,

"TSSA have long said the break up of BTP in Scotland is a politically motivated move rather than operationally necessary and I am grateful to George for working with us to overturn the merger and for taking up the battle in the Lords.

" More than 10,000 Scottish people signed our petition in support of maintaining an integrated police force earlier this year. Rail passengers nd rail security needs politicians, whether SNP or Tory, to stop their ideological meddling with our rail service and maintain the principle and integrity of passenger safety.

"George has a solution that makes BTP more democratically accountable in Scotland. Scottish rail passengers need the SNP to grab it with both hands. And he is right to say Chris Grayling should exercise his power to halt the merger in the UK wide national security interest. If he fails then he will o down in history as rail's grim reaper whose ringing of the death knell on British Transport Police will l'm afraid lead to more deaths on the railway."

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