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Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003

Sections 21-26: Senior officers and constables of the BTP

68.Sections 21 (Chief Constable), 22 (Deputy Chief Constable), 23 (Assistant Chief Constables), 24 (constables), 25 (special constables) and 26 (cadets) make provision so that the BTP will have the same ranks as Home Office police forces under the Police Act 1996. These sections also provide that these officers’ functions, appointments and other associated matters are to be based on the provisions of the Police Act 1996.

69.Only where necessary to meet the specific needs of the BTP do the provisions in the Act differ from the Police Act 1996. Provision made by regulations under the Act will have to follow the Police Act 1996, and any regulations made under that Act. The BTP regulations can only make different provision to meet the specific circumstances of the BTP. This means that should the Secretary of State make regulations regarding the suspension and removal of the senior officers of the BTP, then such regulations would seek to replicate the existing provisions in the Police Act 1996, any regulations made under that Act and only differ to take account of any specific needs of the BTP.

70.A BTP constable or special constable appointed under section 24 or 25 need only be appointed in England & Wales or in Scotland to be considered a constable throughout Great Britain.

71.Section 25(5) covers liability for the wrongful acts of BTP special constables when on BTP business. Special constables, unlike constables, are not employees of the Authority, and liability does not fall on the Authority via their employer’s contractual responsibility. The section provides that liability for any wrongful acts committed by BTP special constables in the course of their duties rests with the Chief Constable. The section also allows the Chief Constable to pay out of the BTP Fund any damages or costs arising from this conduct.

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