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Railway Policing (Scotland) Act 2017

Arrangements for railway policing

Engagement with railway operators

23.Section 85J places a requirement on the SPA to engage regularly with those railway operators who have entered into an RPA (or are required to enter into an RPA, but have not yet agreed terms) and with those trade unions which the SPA considers to be representative of employees of railway operators and of police staff. The engagement is to be about the policing of railways and railway property, and subsection (1) requires a forum to be established and maintained for that purpose. The chief constable is obliged to participate in the forum by virtue of amendments made to section 17(2) of the 2012 Act by section 2 of the Act(4).

24.Section 85K places a requirement on the SPA to take steps to agree certain matters with railway operators and the chief constable. Those matters are the priorities and objectives for railway policing, the proposed arrangements by which those priorities and objectives will be met, and the expected overall costs of those arrangements. As with section 85J, this obligation applies to the SPA in relation to railway operators who have entered into an RPA (or are required to enter into an RPA, but have not yet agreed terms). Although the SPA is to take steps to agree all of these matters with railway operators and the chief constable, where the SPA is unable to secure that agreement, it may determine them in consultation with the chief constable (subsection (2)). As noted above, it is a mandatory provision of an RPA that Police Scotland will police the railways and railway property in accordance with such priorities and objectives (see section 85A(2)(a)).

25.Agreements under this section are to be made on a yearly basis with the start date for the agreement coinciding with that for the annual police plans of Police Scotland under section 35 of the 2012 Act. By virtue of new section 85K(3), the agreements must have regard to the policing principles (set out in section 32 of the 2012 Act), and have regard to and not be inconsistent with the strategic police priorities (see section 33 of the 2012 Act). They must also not be inconsistent with the most recent strategic police plan (see section 34 of the 2012 Act). For more information on the existing planning requirements of Police Scotland, see Chapter 4 of the 2012 Act.


The chief constable may delegate this function to another constable under section 18 of the 2012 Act, for example a senior officer having operational responsibility for railway policing.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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