ASLEF welcomes decision to put police force merger on hold

21 February 2018

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has welcomed the decision by the Scottish government to put the controversial decision to merge the British Transport Police with Police Scotland on hold.

Kevin Lindsay, ASLEF’s organiser in Scotland, said: ‘We welcome the decision to put the merger on hold. But the SNP government should listen to the rail companies, to the rail trade unions, to passengers, and to the Police Federation, and call off this disastrous merger for good.

‘The proposals to merge the BTP with Police Scotland are opposed by everyone who knows anything about the way the railway works. BTP in Scotland understands the way the railway works and has the special expertise needed to deal with the special problems encountered on the railway every day.

‘We think it’s ironic, at best, and outrageous, at worst, that after the Smith Commission devolved powers for the railway to Scotland the SNP government first sells out ScotRail and then sells out the BTP. Merging the BTP into Police Scotland will be a disaster for the railway – for passengers and staff – and that’s why we want a BTP accountable to Holyrood to police the railway here in Scotland.’

The BTP was due to be absorbed into Police Scotland on 1 April 2019 – a date and a decision condemned by ASLEF as ‘a savage April fool’s joke’. But Police Scotland has admitted that date cannot be met ‘without compromising public safety’.

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