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Justice Committee backs Scotland merger: Our response

28 April, 2017

British Transport
Police Federation
April 28, 2017

Justice Committee backs Scotland merger: Our response

This morning the Scottish Justice Committee has confirmed its backing for the integration of BTP Scotland into Police Scotland. You can read the full statement here.

This is a hugely disappointing but not entirely unexpected decision. From the outset, it has been clear to us that the merger of BTP Scotland and Police Scotland was about a political ideology.

If it really was about what's best for the travelling public, robust evidence as to the benefits would have been readily available. In our opinion that evidence remains sadly lacking. From the outset, we have heard nothing but praise for the work delivered by our members; their specialist skills, knowledge and experience are widely recognised and highly regarded. The merger has clearly divided opinion within the Justice Committee; we're saddened that despite recognising there is little public support for the proposal the Scottish Government has been given the green light. This week we have spent time with officers across Scotland, listening to their very real fears about what the future holds. They are understandably and rightly worried, and their concerns are being fuelled by an ongoing lack of certainty. The Justice Committee has listened to much of what we, and others, have told them about these uncertainties and the challenges that lay ahead. The specific requests committee members have made, particularly those relating to the training of officers and a guarantee that there will be no detriment to our members' conditions of employment, are crucial and offer a degree of reassurance.

We will continue to engage fully in the process to ensure the 'guarantees' that have been made are actually delivered. In the strongest possible terms, we urge those tasked with delivering this merger to be open and transparent in sharing their progress. Rail users deserve that. Our colleagues and those in Police Scotland deserve that.