The British Transport Police (BTP) (Heddlu Trafnidiaeth Prydeinig) is a special police force empowered to police those railways and light-rail systems in Great Britain for which it has entered into an agreement to provide such services. British Transport Police officers do not have any jurisdiction in Northern Ireland, where policing of the railways is the responsibility of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
As well as having natural jurisdiction of the system operated by Network Rail consequential to being a former part of British Railways, the BTP are also responsible for policing:
It is not responsible for policing the rest of the Tyne and Wear Metro or the Manchester Metrolink or any other railway with which it does not currently have a service agreement; it can act as a constabulary for a transport system in Great Britain with which it commences a service agreement. It does not police any heritage railways.
It should be noted however that a BTP constable is not prevented from exercising the powers of a constable (in the local territorial force) in such places if the circumstances described in the "Powers and status of officers" paragraph apply (e.g. a BTP constable observing an appropriate incident on a passing tram or on a heritage railway while he happens to be in the vicinity has in relation to those incidents the same powers as a member of the local constabulary).
This amounts to c.10,000 miles of track and more than 3,000 railway stations and depots. There are more than 1 billion passenger journeys annually on the mainline alone.
The force is divided into seven areas:
|Area||Area Commander||Area HQ Location|
|Scottish||Superintendent Ronnie Mellis||Glasgow|
|North Eastern||Superintendent Terry Nicholson||Leeds|
|North Western||Chief Superintendent Martyn Ripley||Manchester|
|London North||Chief Superintendent Mark Newton||London (Caledonian Road)|
|London South||Chief Superintendent Steve Morgan||London (London Bridge Street)|
|London Underground||Chief Superintendent Miles Flood||London (Broadway)|
|Wales & Western||Chief Superintendent Peter McHugh||Birmingham|
Despite the BTP's appearance on national television in Railcopsit does not have a prominent profile but it is larger than, inter alia, the following Territorial Forces:
Within England & Wales,
The modern British Transport Police was formed by the British Transport Commission Act 1949 which combined the already-existing police forces inherited from the pre-nationalisation railways by British Railways, those forces having been previously formed by powers available under Common Law to parishes, landowners and other bodies to appoint constables to patrol land and/or property under their control. This is distinct from the establishment of a police force by statute, as applicable to the Metropolitan Police in 1829; BTP did not have jurisdiction on a statutory basis until the enactment of the Transport Police (Jurisdiction) Act 1994, which was subsequently amended by the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003.
"Policeman" v. "Constable"
Some early 19th century references to "railway police" or "policemen" do not concern constables but instead describe the men responsible for the signalling and control of the movement of trains (it is still common colloquial practice within railway staff for their modern equivalents in signal boxes and signalling centres to be called "Bobbies"). These personnel carried out their duties mostly in the open beside the track and were often dressed in a similar manner (e.g. a top hat and frock coat) to early police constables but were not directly concerned with law enforcement. Historical references (including those originating from the BTP itself) to when the first group of true "constables" was organised to patrol a railway should be treated with caution. This warning is repeated by the Metropolitan Police (MP) in their Metropolitan Police Records of Service web page dealing with MP records of service which on the matter of records of other forces held by the Public Record Office (now the National Archives) states :- The occasional references to 'Police Department' in the railway staff records relate to signalmen, etc
In 1838 the Royal Mail was conveyed by rail for the first time. The first mail thefts were reported shortly afterwards. In 1848 the Eastern Counties Railway lost 76 pieces of luggage in just one day, and by the following year thefts from the largest six railways amounted to over £100,000 a year.
The first railway murder was committed by a German, who robbed and killed a fellow passenger on a train in North London in 1864.
Each had its own police force controlled by a Chief of Police. These four forces were organised in the same way; each split into a number of Divisions headed by a Superintendent, divided into a number of Divisions Posts led by an Inspector. Detectives worked with their uniformed colleagues at most locations. Many ' non-police' duties were retained however, with officers acting as crossing keepers or locking and sealing wagons.
The force played a central role in the response to the 7 July 2005 London bombings. Three of the incidents were at London Underground stations: Edgware Road (Circle Line), Russell Square and Aldgate stations.
The British Transport Police is largely funded by the train operating companies, Network Rail, and the London Underground - part of Transport for London. Other operators with whom the BTP has a service agreement also contribute appropriately. This funding arrangement does not give the companies power to set objectives for the BTP but there are industry representatives serving as members of the police authority. The police authority does, of course, decide objectives. The industry membership represent 5 out of 13 members.
The police authority has agreed its budget for 2007/08 at £187.8M – a 9.9% rise.
in England and Wales Police Act 1996, Schedule 4 as amended.
The attestation can be made in Welsh.
By March 2009 the number of Control Rooms will be reduced to just two: Force Control Room Birmingham and Force Control Room London.
BTP uniforms are similar and the rank system identical to other British police forces. Officers often wear distinctive black jerseys with a black and white chequered pattern on the yoke; officers in Scotland have adopted the same uniform as the Scottish forces.
A BTP constable does not lose the ability to exercise his powers when off duty except for those functions which require the wearing of a uniform.
On 1 July 2004 a Police Authority for the British Transport Police was created. BTP Officers became employees of the Police Authority, prior to that, they were employees of the Strategic Rail Authority.
Until the 1990s the principal investigators of railway accidents were the Inspecting Officers of HM Railway Inspectorate, and BTP involvement was minimal. With major accidents after the 1988 Clapham Junction rail crash being investigated by more adversarial public inquiries, the BTP took on a more proactive role in crash investigations. Further reforms led to the creation by the Department for Transport of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch who take the lead role in investigations of accidents.
Operation Shield is an initiative by BTP to reduce the number of knives carried by passengers on the train network. This initiative came about after knife crime began to rise and also because of the murder of a passenger on a Virgin Trains service travelling from Glasgow
Graffiti costs rail firms over £5m a year in direct costs alone The BTP maintains a graffiti database which holds over 1900 graffiti tags, each unique to an individual vandal. in 2005 BTP sent 569 suspects to court (an increase of 16% on 2004 figures). Surveys show that fear of crime is exacerbated by graffiti.
The BTP deals with hundreds of instances of theft each day including stolen property and the theft of metals such as copper from railway safety equipment In the North West Area BTP has joined forces with Lancashire Constabulary and Network Rail to combat thefts of metals from railway lines in an initiative called Operation Tremor. The BTP established Operation Drum in 2006 as a national response to the increase in metal theft offences and also chairs the relevant Association of Chief Police Officers working group.
It is estimated that:
British Transport Police first recruited Special Constables in a trial based in the North West Area in 1995, and this was expanded to the whole of Great Britain.
Many Specials are recruited from the wider Railway Community and those working for Train Operating Companies are encouraged by their employers.
Under the terms of the Railway and Transport Safety Act 2003 and the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, BTP special constables have identical jurisdiction and powers to BTP regular constables; primary jurisdiction on any railway in Great Britain and a conditional jurisdiction in any other police force area. British Transport Police Special Constables do not wear the 'SC' insignia (a crown with the letters SC underneath) on their epaulettes unlike their counterparts in the majority of Home Office police forces.
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