Police Scotland is to take over the policing of Scotland’s railways when the power is handed to Holyrood, the justice secretary has confirmed. Scotland will get control over this as part of the Smith Commission agreement on more devolution after the referendum No vote. Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said he would be integrating the power over railways to the Scottish force, despite admitting “challenges” still exist with Police Scotland after recent controversies over armed policing and stop and search
“The approach we’ve taken in Scotland is one where we are much more community engaged, where we have a much greater level of public scrutiny of policing and we expect our force in Scotland to engage with local authorities, with local stakeholders and to make sure they’re seen as being part of the local community.”
The “specialist function” which British Transport Police undertakes is “greatly valued” by ministers, he said. “What we want to do is establish a model that will allow that specialist function to be maintained and for that service they provide on the railways to continue to be provided.” British Transport Police wanted to continue providing this service, with oversight by Holyrood instead of Westminster. But Mr Matheson has rejected this and says the force’s Scottish operations, and more than 200 officers, integrated into Police Scotland.