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2001-10-11 DTR-001
Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

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Spellar to modernise British Transport Police


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Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions



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Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

Spellar to modernise British Transport Police
_______________________________________________________________


date
11 Oct 2001 00:00
source Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions
type Press release



Transport police are set to receive new powers in fighting crime and serving the public, Minister for Transport John Spellar announced today.

Plans outlined in a consultation document, ''Modernising the British Transport Police'', set out detailed legislative proposals that would:

- give officers of the British Transport Police (BTP) limited jurisdiction off the railways to provide a better public service in emergencies, crowd control at key events and policing of special occasions such as New Year celebrations;

- put the force''s jurisdiction on the railways on a statutory basis;

- extend to the BTP certain powers already available to local Home Office police forces;

- set up a national independent Police Authority to improve the BTP''s public accountability.

John Spellar said:

''As Britain''s national police force for the railways, the British Transport Police have a crucial role to play in encouraging more people to travel by rail by providing a safe environment. The BTP already have a good record in discharging their responsibilities for tackling crime, minimising the fear of crime and increasing the confidence of passengers in a secure and pleasant environment.''

''The measures on which we are now consulting will ensure proper public accountability and improve the BTP''s ability to protect the public by increasing their powers in certain areas to match those of Home Office constables. In taking them forward we shall ensure consistency with the reforms that the Home Secretary will be announcing later this year.''

Welcoming the proposals, Ian Johnston, Chief Constable of the BTP, said:

''These legislative changes are an important step in reinforcing law and order. BTP officers deal with the public on a daily basis and these proposals give us a more secure foundation on which to work with local police forces to support the public and combat crime. I particularly welcome the setting up of an independent Police Authority, which will give the Force more direct accountability to a much wider public. This is an important development in the Force''s long history.''

Notes to Editors

1. The Consultation Document ''Modernising the British Transport Police'' has been sent direct to consultees such as police staff associations, the railway industry, local government bodies, passenger and crime prevention groups. It is available on the DTLR website at www.dtlr.gov.uk. The proposals are the detailed means to implement policy intentions announced to Parliament in July 1998.

2. The BTP are the national police force for the railways throughout England, Scotland and Wales. They police the national railway network, London Underground and a number of local transport systems. They are the only national police force involved in day to day public policing. With over 2,000 officers and an annual budget of #123m, which is entirely funded by the railways industry, the BTP deal with some 70,000 crimes and 43,000 minor offences annually. These cover virtually the full range of matters dealt with by any police force, including violent crimes and robbery, as well as crimes specific to railways such as handling major rail incidents and helping to restore railway services, protecting the railways from vandalism and supporting victims of accidents.

3. The force is fully integrated with local Home Office forces and they provide policing services to exactly the same, high professional standard. They have particular expertise in such areas as protection from terrorism, management of large travelling groups such as football supporters, and control of anti-social behaviour in enclosed areas such as railway stations and on trains.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 3000 DTLR website: http://www.dtlr.gov.uk



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