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Relief for British Transport Police

3 March 2019

British Transport Police (BTP) Officers and Staff have been told today that their jobs, and pensions are safe after plans were dropped to break up BTP.

Instead the Scottish Government will use 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. TSSA has welcomed the announcement which follows the union’s long-fought campaign to keep BTP from breaking up.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: “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.

“The new Scottish Railways Policing Committee, which gives the Scottish Government oversight without breaking up the BTP, is the solution we were pushing for from the beginning.

“Michael Matheson’s ill-conceived vanity project caused our members untold stress and anxiety over the last four years. It caused experienced officers and staff to retire early to avoid the merger with Police Scotland.

“At very least he should now apologise to the Scottish Parliament for the amount of public money that was wasted trying to make happen the merger that no-one but he alone wanted.”

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