No ‘due diligence’ done on BTP-Police Scotland integration plan

The British Transport Police Federation says a small number of officers have already left the force because of merger uncertainty. Picture: TSPL
The British Transport Police Federation says a small number of officers have already left the force because of merger uncertainty. Picture: TSPL
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No due diligence has been carried out on controversial plans to integrate British Transport Police into Police Scotland, it has emerged.

Members of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) will meet today to discuss the plan to hand railway policing to the national force from 2019.

But The Scotsman understands no detailed examination of the costs associated with the project has been carried out.

Earlier this week, justice secretary Michael Matheson rejected calls for the integration to be put off after concerns were raised by opposition MSPs.

It followed the leaking of a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) which described the merger as an “entirely” political decision.

Addressing Holyrood on Tuesday, Mr Matheson said: “I want to reassure parliament in light of recent commentary that I do not see any immediate impact on the programme to integrate the British Transport Police in Scotland into Police Scotland.

“That programme is being led by the Scottish and UK governments through a joint programme board that includes a wide range of organisations with a role in delivery.

“Work within Police Scotland has been taken forward under the leadership of Assistant Chief Constable Higgins and they are currently in the process of strengthening their programme management arrangements.

“The proposed date for integration is April 2019 and I see it as very premature to suggest that there will be any impact on that timetable.”

When concerns over a lack of due diligence were raised by members of the SPA during a public board meeting in May, the organisation’s chief executive John Foley said the work would have to be put out to tender.

However, the procurement process is yet to take place.

Legislation passed before Holyrood’s summer recess will see BTP’s operations in Scotland taken over by Police Scotland from 2019.

The British Transport Police Federation has said a small number of officers have already left due to uncertainty caused by the plan.

Last week the Scottish Conservatives called for the merger be put on hold due to the “crisis” in Police Scotland.

The call came after Chief Constable Phil Gormley announced he would go on leave while two allegations of gross misconduct are investigated.

A spokesman for the Scottish Police Authority said: “Following a discussion at May’s public SPA board meeting, an update on due diligence plans and work is due to be given to the SPA’s finance committee and this will continue to be kept under regular review by the SPA.”