Security on the railway - Transport Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

British Transport Police

1.  Transport providers pay for specialist railway policing. That is a cost-effective arrangement for taxpayers, if the BTP meets the needs of both the railway industry and the travelling public. That requires effective governance and accountability. (Paragraph 4)

British Transport Police Authority

2.  The Secretary of State for Transport must appoint at least one new member of the BTPA in order to comply with the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003. In addressing that point, the Secretary of State should appoint a member from Passenger Focus, which is the statutory body representing the interests of rail users and is therefore best placed to advance the interests of passengers. (Paragraph 8)

3.  It is important that the BTP and the BTPA work together effectively, but the BTPA must be mindful of its obligations to oversee the work of the BTP and to drive performance by setting realistic but challenging targets on crime reduction and crime prevention. The BTPA must avoid any perception that it is too close to the people whom it should be holding to account. (Paragraph 9)

Department for Transport

4.  We are satisfied that the BTP should be a DfT responsibility. The DfT must maintain and develop its liaison links with the Home Office to ensure that the specific operational requirements of the BTP are addressed in future Home Office legislation. (Paragraph 13)

Risk-based rail policing

5.  We were convinced by the case for a risk-based approach to policing Britain's railways. We were impressed by the BTP's commitment to tackling crime while minimising delays for the travelling public. (Paragraph 15)

Counter terrorism

6.  The BTP has a proven record of successful risk-based, counter-terrorist policing, which depends on accurate and up-to-date intelligence. The BTP must maintain and develop its liaison links with other police forces and the security services to ensure that it has the latest intelligence on major threats. (Paragraph 17)

7.  Following the reorganisation of TRANSEC, it is important that the DfT maintains sufficient expertise at a departmental level to address major threats to both the railway and other transport modes. (Paragraph 18)

Expanding specialist transport policing

8.  There may be value in applying BTP's specialist approach to policing the railways to other transport modes, such as aviation. In particular, if the BTP's funding structure and close working relationship with transport providers were replicated at airports, it could minimise delays, maximise security and reduce the cost of policing for the taxpayer. The DfT should examine the case for expanding the remit of the BTP to include (a) aviation and (b) other modes of transport. (Paragraph 21)

Crime statistics

9.  We welcome the overall decrease in crime on the railway. However, there is no room for complacency, because the high-level statistics mask increases in serious crimes involving assault, sexual offences and racial harassment and areas where the BTP can improve its performance. The BTPA must fulfil its core function of setting the BTP challenging but achievable targets. (Paragraph 27)

Fear of crime

10.  The DfT, the BTP, Network Rail and train operators must address not only crime, but the fear of crime in order to maintain and grow the railway. Visible policing is a proven means of enhancing passengers' perceptions of security. We therefore welcome the BTP's plan to deploy more officers on patrolling railway stations at key times. To fulfil its oversight role, the BTPA must monitor the implementation of the BTP's deployment of more officers at railway stations and examine how this affects passengers' perceptions of their personal security. (Paragraph 34)

11.  We approve of the inclusion of compliance with the Secure Stations and Safer Parking schemes as a factor in rail franchise negotiations. However, Secure Stations are of little benefit if passengers cannot get to and from them safely. To secure full value from such investments, improvements to railway station security should be accompanied by complementary improvements to station car parks. (Paragraph 35)

Vulnerable children and young people

12.  Accurate data are crucial to, first, defining and, secondly, solving problems. We welcome the BTP's assurance that it will examine its available data on runaway children and young people. We look forward to seeing the results of its analysis, which will inform not only our inquiry but the work of charities such as Railway Children. If that analysis of the BTP's data requires significant resources, the DfT should make them available to facilitate the protection of vulnerable children and young people. (Paragraph 38)

13.  Although the welfare of a runaway young person or child is the long-term responsibility of a local authority safeguarding board, it is the BTP's short-term responsibility while that young person is in its care. The BTPA must set the BTP appropriate targets in relation to child protection to bring the BTP in line with other police forces and to capture the extent and importance of the BTP's responsibilities. (Paragraph 40)

14.  Child protection at railway stations is an emerging issue. We commend Railway Children for raising it, which allowed us to alert the Minister. The DfT should ensure that the BTPA sets the BTP appropriate targets on child protection. In addition, the Minister should convene a seminar involving departmental officials, the BTP, the BTPA, Railway Children and other NGOs and the Transport Select Committee to ensure that policy and practice in this area is fit for purpose. (Paragraph 41)

Cable theft

15.  We welcome the sharp decline in incidences of cable theft, which has translated into reduced delays for the travelling public and decreased costs for Network Rail. (Paragraph 43)

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Prepared 5 September 2014