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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-18177: Liam Kerr (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 14 August 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports that a new Scottish Police Authority report states that Police Scotland may not have the capacity and capability to absorb the work of the British Transport Police, and that there may be significant differences between actual costs and previous estimates.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 11 September 2018

Throughout the re-planning process, commissioned by Scottish Ministers, we have been committed to listening to stakeholders. As part of the re-plan, recent advice from Police Scotland on a range of issues, and timing of implementation, particularly relating to ICT, has emerged. Based on that information, I have decided that we will re-examine all options for the devolution of railway policing, with clear governance structures that ensure accountability to the Scottish Parliament.

Full integration of railway policing into Police Scotland, as legislated for by the Scottish Parliament remains a long term goal and we will keep the commencement date of the Act under review. However, there is a need to identify interim arrangements that can give effect more quickly to the Smith Commission’s cross-party recommendation to devolve railway policing to the Scottish Parliament.

The absolute priority for all those involved is the safety and security of officers, staff and those who use Scotland’s railways.

I want to pay tribute to the on-going commitment of officers and staff of both police services, who I look forward to engaging with on this matter in the very near future.

I will commit to keeping Parliament fully updated on progress.