BTP is a specialist police force responsible for policing the rail network across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as the London Underground and other rail services including Docklands Light Railway, Midland Metro tram system, Croydon Tramlink, Glasgow Subway and even the Emirates AirLine. BTP is responsible for policing over 3 billion passenger journeys every year, keeping the public and staff who work on the railway safe and free from the fear of crime. Whether it’s tackling sexual offences, responding to the increasing level of violence that is being seen across the country, responding to the threat of terrorism, investigating murder, reducing trespass and incidents which cause disruption on the rail network (which unfortunately includes suicide), safeguarding the vulnerable, providing a visible and reassuring presence, or just providing directions to a member of the public – the list of their work is vast. The 13th November brought YRP’s London & South East region to the British Transport Police (BTP) headquarters providing an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand from top-level officers.
Chief Constable Paul Crowther OBE provided us with an introduction to BTP’s structure and scale, presenting BTP’s unique policing ethos acknowledges the ‘currency of time’: understanding the impact disruption has to the railway. In order to respond to such a wide range of incidents and calls for assistance BTP has a number of specialist units to support their neighbourhood teams. Overviews of Counter Terrorism, Safeguarding, and Trespass & Disruption Officers highlighted the efforts in understanding and addressing the variety of causes of disruption including trespass, as well as the importance considering the wider issues with vulnerable young people with the railways often acting as conduits for crimes across the country. Firearms officers and Oscar, the police dog, joined us for an informal reception after the presentations giving attendees the opportunity to ask questions on a one-to-one basis on topics such as training and their typical day.
With attendees from across the rail industry the event provided a great insight of the breadth of work carried out by the BTP building a foundation for a continued collaborative relationship.