MSPs call on Humza Yousaf to explain rail policing decision

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A committee of MSPs has called on justice secretary Humza Yousaf to explain a decision to put on hold the controversial merger of British Transport Police and Police Scotland.

Earlier this week, Mr Yousaf said he would “re-examine all options” for the devolution of railway policing.

Humza Yousaf. Picture: Michael Gillen

Humza Yousaf. Picture: Michael Gillen

The Scotsman revealed earlier this month that controversial plans to merge BTP and Police Scotland are set to be scrapped.

A report by Police Scotland, which was published on Monday, said it was not possible to give a “go-live” date for the merger due to ongoing concerns.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf will ‘re-examine options’ for devolution of railway policing

Margaret Mitchell, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee, said: “This latest announcement raises many questions, both for the future of railway policing in Scotland and about the delayed integration process.

“Devolving railway policing has clearly not been straightforward. For the sake of transparency and clarity, it’s imperative the justice committee has the opportunity to question the justice secretary soon after Holyrood’s return.”

On Monday, Mr Yousaf said ministers remained committed to full integration but that “interim arrangements” were needed to speed along the 
devolution of railway policing.

Rail unions and staff associations have repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to scrap the integration, which would see the BTP’s operations north of the Border taken over by Police Scotland.