Responding to reports that the merger of British Transport Police into Police Scotland is to be delayed, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:
"Inexcusably, SNP ministers failed to do the basic work to identify and plan for the risks and implications of their latest centralisation. Instead, they landed the joint board with the task of implementing this policy at any cost. It didn't take long for those left to conduct the merger to deliver their verdict.
"With so many questions left unanswered, it was always risky and unrealistic to proceed with the SNP's timetable for disbanding the British Transport Police in Scotland. It now seems that the joint board agrees.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats warned SNP ministers not to repeat the mistakes they made in pushing through the Police Scotland centralisation. They rejected constructive calls for implementation of the BTP merger to be delayed, giving the impression the timetable was generous, or even a luxury. Now they have been found out.
"Today's decision underlines the Scottish Government’s substandard planning and lack of business case. It should also signal a halt to this merger for the forseeable future."