Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today revealed that the equivalent of more than 40% of officers and staff have left the British Transport Police in Scotland since the SNP announced its plan to merge the service into Police Scotland.
Freedom of Information requests submitted by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have revealed that 113 officers and staff have retired or voluntarily left the service since 2014.
In 2013/14 the British Transport Police employed 278 people in Scotland. This means that the equivalent of 41% of staff have since left the organisation.
A recent paper by academics Kath Murray and Colin Atkinson, found:
- 70% of BTP officers and staff were very unsupportive and 13% were quite unsupportive of full integration. Only seven per cent were either supportive or quite supportive.
- “Opposition to integration also correlated with the likelihood of leaving railway policing. Around a fifth said that they had given serious consideration to leaving policing prior to the merger, however when asked if they had given serious consideration to leaving because of the merger this proportion increased to almost two-thirds (64%)”.
- A higher risk of considering leaving amongst “more experienced staff”.
Mr McArthur commented:
“The SNP chose to barrel ahead with abolishing the BTP in Scotland without a business case. That decision has cost the taxpayer millions and made an irreparable dent in the number of long-serving and experienced staff. A cynic would say they were more concerned with removing the word British from the name of the organisation than maintaining a top quality service.
“The Justice Secretary has slowly been walking the SNP’s chaotic plans back over recent months. But officers and staff have endured the uncertainty of this saga for long enough. These figures show that in that time dozens of experienced staff members have been lost.
“The steep staff turnover ought to make ministers reflect. The time has come to acknowledge the merger has been a failure and ditch the original plan for good. That’s the best way forward for the force.”