The Transport Minister John Spellar has announced that a new national independent police authority is to be set up for the British Transport Police.The Minister also intends to put the force’s jurisdiction on the railways on a statutory basis.
The aim of the change is to improve the BTP’s public accountability and ensure officers can pursue their duties more efficiently and effectively.
The Force has 2000 officers and is wholely funded by the railways industry. It has already seen some modernisation – legislation in the last eighteen months has seen officers given additional powers away from railway property, bringing them more in line with the rest of Britain’s police officers.
Over 70 organisations and individuals responded to the consultation paper ‘Modernising the British Transport Police’ which set out details of the proposals for the BTP, and the Government says the overwhelming majority were were in favour of the planned changes. These require primary legislation and will be implemented when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.