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Specialised railway policing put at risk by Scottish Government

06 September, 2016

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September 06, 2016

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Federation Circulars


Issued on behalf of the British Transport Police Federation

20 October 2005

The Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation, Alex Robertson has today written to the Minister of Transport Alistair Darling expressing his astonishment at Sir Ian Blair's pre-emptive comments on the future of the British Transport Police Force. The letter is as follows:

Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP
Secretary of State for Transport
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR

Dear Secretary of State:

I was astounded to hear on television last night the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police assert that he would be taking charge of the BTP in the run up to the 2012 Olympics in London. I think we all appreciate that there will be a massive security operation required both in the run up to the Olympics and for the duration of the Games. However, I can see no argument for the existing arrangements for co operation between the BTP, the Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police and elements of the Ministry of Defence police to persuade anyone that these arrangements are not proving effective in protecting London.

I should like to know on what authority Sir Ian can make these kind of comments, whether he is flying in the face of current Ministerial thinking because he certainly is at odds with recent Department of Transport studies of the BTP which of course have all been very supportive of the Force's independence. It is most untimely that Sir Ian should be making pre-emptive statements when as Secretary of State you have today (Thursday 20 October) published Terms of Reference for a review of the role of the BTP and no doubt the outcome of this will be considered in conjunction with the review of the UK county police forces. Sir Ian also needs to understand that any claims by London for the MPS to incorporate the BTP into its ownership have ramifications for the entire UK BTP network, including for Scotland, and would not be in the national interest or be of benefit to the County forces - no matter how convenient an arrangement it might be for Sir Ian himself.

I would be grateful for your assurance that Sir Ian's comments are not supported by Government and that he should be suitably rebuked for causing unnecessary alarm among the officers of this Force and the travelling public who expect professional specialist policing at railway stations the length and breadth of the UK, especially in the light of the tremendous response and resilience shown by the BTP in the recent atrocities in Central London.

Yours sincerely

Alex Robertson
British Transport Police Federation

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