SNP urged to drop British Transport Police plans

The plans would see British Transport Police officers working north of the Border under Police Scotland control. Picture: Contributed/BTP

The plans would see British Transport Police officers working north of the Border under Police Scotland control. Picture: Contributed/BTP

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THE Scottish Government has been urged to drop plans to bring the British Transport Police north of the border under the control of Police Scotland.

The Scottish Conservatives claim it would be wrong to press ahead with plans to hand power over policing the Scottish rail network to Police Scotland following the scandals to engulf the single force.

Police Scotland is in meltdown at the moment. The last thing it needs is the extra responsibility of Scotland’s part of the British Transport Police

Margaret Mitchell

Earlier this year the SNP said it wanted to transfer the BTP to Police Scotland’s remit, after the Smith Commission stated the responsibility could be devolved.

The Conservatives argue that it would be inadvisable to make the move following the series of controversies that have dogged Police Scotland since it was formed with the merging of eight regional forces in 2013. 

Concerns about the routine arming of officers, the prevalence of “stop and search” and the closure of police counters have been raised.

Most recently Police Scotland and its stewardship by chief constable Sir Stephen House were attacked when it emerged two people lay undiscovered in their car for three days following a crash off the M9 motorway.

Scottish Conservative justice spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell said: “Police Scotland is in meltdown at the moment.

“The last thing it needs is the extra responsibility of Scotland’s part of the British Transport Police.

“The BTP is one of the most respected and successful arms of the justice system – so why would we hand it over to an organisation in crisis?

“The single force has proved itself utterly incapable of dealing with even the most straightforward of calls.

“It would be absolute folly to transfer this chaos onto Scotland’s rail network too.”

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