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Update on Devolution of Policing – Scotland

Devolution of Railways Policing

As the proposals for the enhanced the accountability and transparency of railways policing in Scotland are finalised, I wanted to write to thank you for the contribution you, and all key stakeholders, have made.

At the stakeholder event I held in November 2018, I asked stakeholders to work together to explore options for the devolved accountability and responsibility in the delivery of railway policing.  We listened to the findings and since December, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) and British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) have been working together to develop robust proposals for a new Scottish Railways Policing Committee.

I am pleased to tell you that the Authorities have reached agreement on Terms of Reference for the Committee and a supporting Memorandum of Understanding.  I have approved the proposal and I have written to the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee setting out the details of the arrangements.  It is important to note that under the new arrangements the pension, terms and conditions of BTP officers and staff will be unchanged. Retired officers will similarly be unaffected.

The Authorities will now work together on plans for implementation, with the intention of holding the first meeting of the new Committee in September.  The Committee will meet in Scotland, in public, and you would be welcome to attend as an observer.

The new arrangements will of course need a significant bedding in period and be subject to rigorous review. The Authorities are currently working on plans for evaluating the proposal against the agreed design principles. We will therefore continue to keep the commencement of the Railway Policing (Scotland) Act 2017 under review. As always, I value the input and expertise of all our partners and stakeholders. By working together I am confident we will continue to deliver a railway policing service which provides enhanced accountability while continuing to keep the travelling public and our communities safe.

Humza Usaf

Cabinet Secretary for Justice.