21st March 2018

Agenda: BTP merger standoff threatens constitutional crisis for the SPA

By Kath Murray, Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

For many stakeholders, the recently announced delay to the British Transport Police (BTP) merger was a relief. Still, work on full integration is ongoing, currently badged as the “replan”. While the delay itself was unavoidable, it will nonetheless come at a significant cost that wasn’t accounted for on either side of the Border. In England and Wales, the BTP and BTP Authority had agreed to a clean break by April 2019. In Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) is now facing sizeable transition costs, with no end date in sight. At this stage, the only certainty is that this will involve some very hefty consultancy fees.


Police to target speeding drivers close to schools

Road policing officers are set to focus their efforts on speeding around schools with a dedicated operation either side of the Easter holidays. Officers will be carrying out enforcement activity around schools aiming at deterring speeding and taking action against anyone found to be breaking the speed limit.  The operation will run from Monday, March 26 until Wednesday, March 28 – and then again between Monday, April 16 and Friday, April 20.  Road Policing Sergeant Gregor Hay said: “Driving irresponsibly near schools risks the lives of children among many others and will not be tolerated.


Suspended ACC back at work in leadership reshuffle

A senior Police Scotland officer has returned to work in a new role following his suspension as part of a wider shake-up of the leadership team.  Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins has assumed new duties following his suspension over alleged gross misconduct and criminal behaviour.  Mr Higgins, former head of Police Scotland’s operational support, will now serve as the lead for local policing in the west of the country.  He takes over the post from Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams, who was given responsibility for road policing, emergency events, resilience planning, and the operational elements of the British Transport Policing integration programme.  The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC) investigation into Mr Higgins is still ongoing.



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