Justice Secretary to explore options for devolution of railway policing.
Further options to deliver the devolution of railway policing to Scotland are to be explored, the Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has said.
The decision comes following recent advice from Police Scotland around the practicalities of a number of issues and timing of implementation, particularly relating to ICT, which have emerged as part of the re-planning exercise commissioned by Scottish Ministers.
Mr Yousaf said that the Scottish Government remained committed to the full integration of railway policing into Police Scotland, as legislated for by the Scottish Parliament and will keep this under review.
However, he added there was a need to identify interim arrangements that could give effect more quickly to the devolution of railway policing, as recommended by the Smith Commission.
The Scottish Government will bring together Police Scotland, the Scottish Police Authority, the British Transport Police and other partners to re-examine the available options.
Mr Yousaf said:
"Throughout this process we have been committed to listening to officers and staff. As part of that on-going approach I have decided that we will re-examine all options for the devolution of railway policing, with clear governance structures that ensure accountability to the Scottish Parliament.
"The absolute priority for all those involved is the safety and security of officers, staff and those who use Scotland's railways.
"I intend to update Parliament following summer recess. In the meantime I want to pay tribute to the on-going commitment of officers and staff of both police services, who I look forward to engaging with on this matter in the very near future."
Following a re-planning exercise, announced by the then Justice Secretary Michael Matheson in February, to ensure robust delivery plans were in place, a better understanding of issues which impact the timing of integration has emerged.
This includes information from Police Scotland relating to the current ICT transformation project and the impact of delivering railway policing integration at this time.