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TSSA urge national security committees to save British Transport Police

4 June 2017

In the wake of the barbaric terrorist attack in London last night, TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, will ask the UK Cobra Committee and the Scottish Resilience Committee to seriously consider halting the break-up of British Transport Police (BTP) in the interests of national security.

The SNP are driving through the merger of specialist railway police, BTP north of the border into Police Scotland using newly devolved powers from Westminster.

But TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, says the terror attacks in London last night and in Manchester two weeks ago, show why a unified BTP must be retained as a vital part of our national security infrastructure.

A BTP Officer from London Bridge Station was the first emergency responder on the scene last night, and Manchester BTP Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) and TSSA member, Mark Renshaw was the first emergency responder to arrive at the Manchester Evening News Arena in the wake of the devastation caused by the suicide bomb 13 days ago.

Said Cortes, "TSSA condemns the barbaric and appalling attacks on Londoners last night as we condemned them in Manchester two weeks ago and on Westminster earlier this year. And our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this horrific incident. Our colleagues in the the police and the emergency services show time and again that they have what it takes to walk into the line of fire to protect the rest of us from harm.

"BTP Police Officers and BTP PCSOs are too often overlooked as a vital part of the UK's counter-terrorism infrastructure and the fact that it was a BTP officer last night and a BTP PCSO the week before who arrived first at the scene off the terrorist attacks indicates you, not just that they highly-trained first responders, but because they are well-embedded into community locations they are the real rapid responders to events unfolding within the vicinity of stations.

"Yet the SNP with the support of Scotland's Greens and the Liberals will dismantle BTP in Scotland and thus break up a fine cross border railway police force, jeopardising the safety of cross border travel and the future of socially designated and community embedded transport policing south of the border.

"Terrorists do not respect national borders and in case, there are no borders on our railway lines. It's also true that our police forces in England and Wales are already overstretched as 20,000 Police Officers have been cut since Theresa May became Home Secretary in 2010. This makes the proposed break up of our specialist transport police an even more dangerous proposition.

"TSSA represents BTP staff and BTP PCSOs and other rail industry staff who are dismayed at proposals to break their service at a time of heightened security. In the light of last nights attack, UK's COBRA Committee and Scotland's Resilience Committee should agree a stay of execution to the plans to break up BTP as a national security priority."

ends

Note to desks

Prior to the General Election being called, the bill to merge BTP north of the border into Police Scotland was scheduled to go to the Scottish Parliament in June.

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