2.1 The BTP provide a specialist railway policing function in Scotland, which is highly valued by the Scottish Government, the rail industry, railways staff and rail passengers. The BTP was established by the UK Government's Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 to provide a railway police service across the UK, accountable to the BTP Chief Constable, the BTPA, and through them to the UK Parliament.
2.2 The Scotland Act 2016 gave effect to the recommendation of the Smith Commission that the policing of railways and rail property in Scotland should be a devolved matter. The Act included provisions to transfer legislative competence, and enable the transfer of executive competence over the policing of railways and railway property in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.
2.3 Scottish Ministers intend to use the powers devolved in the Act to integrate the BTP officers and civilian staff into Police Scotland, the police service of Scotland.
2.4 Police Scotland intends to maintain a specialist railway policing function within its broader structure. This would be accountable, through the Chief Constable and the SPA, to the people of Scotland; it would build on the skills, knowledge and experience of the BTP; and would enhance railway policing in Scotland through direct access to the local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland.
2.5 The Scottish Government wishes to hear views of key stakeholders on the best approach to integrating BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland. To this end they are engaging actively with a range of relevant groups including Federations, Unions and Staff Associations, officers and staff of the BTP and the railway industry. In addition, they published a written consultation document on 29 June 2016 inviting views on how to ensure a smooth transition towards integration; how to ensure railway policing in Scotland is subject to appropriate oversight; and how to maintain railway policing as a specialism.
2.6 Views were invited by 24 August 2016 by the online system Citizen Space, by emailing a dedicated mailbox or by writing to the Scottish Government consultation team with comments.
2.7 The Scottish Government received 137 responses to the consultation. Most respondents submitted their views via Citizen Space. Where responses were submitted in other ways, Scottish Government officials entered them manually onto the Citizen Space system to create one complete database and to aid comparison of views and analysis.
2.8 107 responses were from individuals, some of whom identified themselves as BTP officers or workers within the rail industry. The remaining 30 responses were from organisations. These represented a range of stakeholder categories, the largest being organisations from the rail industry. Table 2.1 below shows the distribution of responses by category of respondent. A full list of the organisations which responded is in the Annex. The respondent category applied to each response was agreed with the Scottish Government policy team.
Table 2.1: Distribution of responses by category of respondent
|Category||No. of respondents||% of all respondents|
|Other public bodies||2||1|
|Grand total of individuals and organisations||137||100|
NB Percentages may not add to totals exactly due to rounding.
Analysis of responses
2.9 The analysis of responses is presented in the following chapters which follow the order of the questions raised in the consultation document. The analysis is based on the views of those who responded to the consultation and may not necessarily represent the views of the wider population.
2.10 The Citizen Space database was exported by the analyst to an Excel working database for detailed analysis. A considerable volume of respondents either requested anonymity and/or confidentiality, or did not fill in a Respondent Information Form detailing their preferences. In these instances the default position is to treat the response as confidential. Quotations have been included where these illustrate a point clearly and have been selected from a range of responses where the author has provided permission to publish.