BTPA celebrates a decade of safer rail journeys

The organisation that oversees the work of the British Transport Police (BTP) is celebrating its tenth anniversary today having spent the past decade working with the Force, passenger groups and the rail industry to ensure 7 million people have a safe journey every day.

The British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) was established by Act of Parliament a decade ago to ensure that BTP were appropriately managed and funded in order to police Britain’s railways in the 21st century and beyond.

Today, BTPA with its13 members, who bring industry knowledge of passengers, policing and the railways, oversee the work of the Force and its 2,866 officers who police Great Britain’s 20,000 miles of track.

As well as setting the Force’s budget, BTPA sets the strategy for policing the railways and the policing targets to achieve this each year, it appoints its senior officers, including the chief constable, employs all officers and staff, and holds the Force to account.

Millie Banerjee Chair of the British Transport Police Authority since 2008 said:

“So much has changed in the past ten years and BTPA has continued to evolve and grow to support the BTP as it responds and adapts to the increasing demand from passengers and an ever expanding rail infrastructure.

“The rail industry shows no signs of slowing down; it is like the blood supply to the body, it feeds business and industry every day to enable them to grow. HS1, 2 and 3 indicate the future of the railways and BTPA has its finger on the pulse and will work with BTP to ensure it is ready and equipped to support the rail industry, its passengers and staff and its growing demand. This is an exciting milestone for the Authority and the last ten years highlights what we are together capable of delivering.”

Since the Authority was set up in 1 July 2004 the BTP have benefited from funding provided by the rail industry that reflects the scale of the Force’s job and crime on the railways has been down year on year.

Chief Constable of BTP Paul Crowther said: “Crime on the railways is down for the tenth year in succession. There are 75% fewer robberies on the rail system than in 2004, people are eight times less likely to be a victim of crime on the railways than elsewhere and cable theft – a major issue for the railway industry – has reduced by 48%.

“We are world class – and world leaders – in reducing disruption related to fatalities, and our stakeholders want us to be first on scene to all incidents as we are the trusted leaders in these, often traumatic, situations.

“All this has been achieved during the tenure of the British Transport Police Authority and this would not have been possible without its continuing support and belief in the Force.”

 BTPA ten years – ten things you should know:

  • There is only 1 specialist Force policing Great Britain’s Railways –BTP and only one body oversees their work – BTPA.
  • BTPA has had only 2 chairmen in the last ten years ensuring a strong and consistent vision for the Force – the current chair is Millie Banerjee.
  • A recent Force restructure now means that BTP divides the country into 3 divisions B: London, C: North of England, the Midlands, Wales and the South West, and D: Scotland.
  • The Authority have set BTP a national target to reduce crime by 4% on last year’s figures.
  • A multi-agency task force led by BTP was backed by government to the tune of £5million to tackle metal theft in 2011, since then cable theft has more than halved and arrests for metal theft shot up by 80 per cent.
  • The Authority holds 6 meetings a year which are open to the public.
  • The country is divided into 7 smaller sub-divisions and each one has a Superintendent who oversees the day to day policing on their patch.
  • Between 2013 – 2015 BTPA has agreed that £8million will be directed to the frontline to deliver 208 more police officers thanks to efficiency savings.
  • They Authority has set 9 national targets for the Force to meet this 2014 -15.
  • Since the Authority was set up crime has been down every year for the last 10 years and is at its lowest ever level on London Underground.