Chapter 1: Overview
19. A specialist railway policing function within Police Scotland would ensure that railway policing in Scotland: is accountable, through the Chief Constable and the SPA, to the people of Scotland; builds on the skills, knowledge and experience of the British Transport Police; and enhances railway policing in Scotland through direct access to the local, specialist and national resources of Police Scotland. We have considered a number of factors regarding the integration of the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland. These are set out below:
Service to the public
20. The BTP is accountable through the BTPA to the UK Parliament, while Police Scotland is accountable through the SPA to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish people. The Scottish Government's view is that policing of the rail network in Scotland should be held to account by the SPA.
21. Experience of the devolution of responsibility for the specification and funding of the rail network in Scotland provides a clear example of transferring and managing responsibility for Scotland's infrastructure effectively, while maintaining effective arrangements for cross-border operations.
22. Successive governments in Scotland have used these responsibilities to invest in new railway lines, new rolling stock and improved service levels. Passenger growth has increased by 45% since 2005/06 and passenger satisfaction is high, 7% above the UK average.
23. Police Scotland provides a national approach to policing across Scotland. There is already a strong connection between the policing of the railways and wider policing in Scotland, with regular joint operational planning and joint response to emergencies. An excellent example of this joint working was the policing of the public transport network in Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and more recently the establishment of a multi-agency task force to reduce metal theft across Scotland.
24. Having all of the major policing functions in Scotland under a single command structure would provide a range of opportunities to ensure a fully unified and integrated service for policing our transport infrastructure, bringing specialist railway policing together with policing at airports and our road network.
25. The Scottish Government is responsible for funding and specifying the rail network in Scotland and for setting the long-term vision for rail in Scotland. This includes letting the contracts for the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper franchises for rail passenger services, and funding of the operation, maintenance, renewal and investment activities delivered by Network Rail.
26. The Scottish Government remains the principal funder of all railway infrastructure and service provision in Scotland and investment in new and better services to support passenger growth remains a key priority. Since 2007, the Scottish Government has committed over £6 billion to improvements in rail infrastructure and services.
27. The Scottish Government invests over £700 million per annum in rail infrastructure and rail passenger services in Scotland. This investment includes franchise payments and subsidies made to Abellio ScotRail Limited ( ASR) - the ScotRail franchisee; Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited ( SCSL) - the Sleeper franchisee; and ScotRail Network Rail. The cost of railway policing in Scotland is currently over £21 million. The cost to ASR, SCSL and Network Rail (which together make up over 97% of the cost of railway policing in Scotland), is effectively supported (in part) by these franchise payments and subsidies from the Scottish Government, although we recognise that cross-border franchises let by the UK Government Department for Transport also contribute to these costs.
28. The Scottish Government and the Scottish public are therefore also the principal funders of rail operations and railway policing in Scotland. As such, investment decisions relating to railway policing in Scotland should rest with the Scottish Parliament. The integration of BTP operations in Scotland within Police Scotland will achieve this.
Q1: During the integration of BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland, how best can we ensure that the benefits of greater accountability and integration are delivered within the wider policing of Scotland's transport infrastructure? What additional benefits should we be looking to achieve?