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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.
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.