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British Transport Police (Staff Safety)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 13th November 2019.

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Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government when it last met the British Transport Police to discuss staff safety on trains. (S5O-03748)

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Officials are in daily contact with the British Transport Police through the embedded liaison officer in Transport Scotland. That process provides first-hand instant information on actions relating to all rail and British Transport Police issues, including incidents involving rail staff, as well as an opportunity to provide input from a Scottish Government perspective.

I last met the British Transport Police earlier this year at the British Transport Police Federation conference.

Transport Scotland and the British Transport Police also attend the quarterly rail workplace violence stakeholders forum, in which staff safety is, of course, a key focus.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary agree that the ultimate responsibility for ScotRail staff lies with the ScotRail management and that it, in conjunction with the BTP, needs to do more to protect its staff?

Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

Yes, I do. Stuart McMillan will, of course, be aware that I was previously Minister for Transport and the Islands, when I had constant regular conversations with ScotRail’s management on that issue. I know from that time that ScotRail took the issue extremely seriously; I suspect that it is much the same now. That is why ScotRail plays a leading role in the rail workplace violence stakeholders forum, which includes the BTP, trade unions and Transport Scotland. That forum develops and implements short-term, medium-term and long-term strategies to reduce physical and verbal assaults of, and antisocial behaviour towards, rail staff and passengers.

It is important to note that there has been a 20 per cent reduction in assaults against staff in Scotland this year, while there has been an increase in England and Wales.

ScotRail and British Transport Police will continue to work closely with stakeholders on initiatives to prevent violence and aggression towards staff, and findings will be reported to the Scottish railways policing committee for scrutiny and review.