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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 27 June 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motions, Topical Question Time, European Union Negotiations and Scotland’s Future, NHS Ayrshire and Arran Maternity Services (Review of Management of Adverse Events), Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill, Scottish Information Commissioner, Decision Time, Online Exploitation and Abuse of Children


Contents


Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Linda Fabiani)

The next item of business is stage 3 proceedings on the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill. In dealing with the amendments, members should have the bill as amended at stage 2—that is, Scottish Parliament bill 2A; the marshalled list and the supplement to the marshalled list; and the list of groupings.

I advise members that, although the supplement to the marshalled list states that amendments 8 and 9 will be called immediately after amendment 4, that is not the case. Amendment 8 will be called immediately after amendment 3, and amendment 9 will be called immediately after amendment 4. Now, did everybody get that? [Laughter.] It is all right—I will keep you right.

The division bell will sound and proceedings will be suspended for five minutes for the first division of the afternoon. The period of voting for the first division will be 30 seconds. Thereafter, I will allow a voting period of one minute for the first division after a debate. Members who wish to speak in the debate on a group of amendments should press their request-to-speak buttons as soon as possible after I call the group. Members should now refer to the marshalled list of amendments.

Section 1—Provision for policing of railways and railway property

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Group 1 is on engagement with trade unions. Amendment 1, in the name of Neil Bibby, is grouped with amendments 3, 8, 4 and 9.

Neil Bibby (West Scotland) (Lab)

I declare an interest as a member of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers parliamentary group.

Members will recall that Scottish Labour voted against the general principles of the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill at stage 1. We have consistently opposed the integration of the British Transport Police into Police Scotland, and our position has not changed. The purpose of my amendments in the group is to ensure that, if the bill is passed later today, there will be proper engagement and consultation with trade unions.

The absence of trade unions from the bill is a glaring omission, and my amendments address that. Amendment 1 adds “relevant trade unions” to the list of bodies that will be involved in the membership of the railway policing management forum. The forum should not just be made up of rail operators. It should be a place where the interests of workers are represented.

Amendments 3 and 4 amend section 1 to ensure that there is engagement between the relevant trade unions and the Scottish Police Authority. The bill already requires the SPA to obtain the views of interested parties. Trade unions must be counted as interested parties along with the rail operators, passengers and the other persons and bodies that are identified in the bill.

The Minister for Transport and the Islands has lodged manuscript amendments in the group that relate to section 1. I agree with his amendments in principle, but I know that trade unions have some concerns about the way in which amendment 9 is drafted. It would allow the Scottish Police Authority to judge what the relevant trade unions would be, but we do not know the criteria on which that judgment would be made.

I therefore seek an assurance from the minister that trade unions that organise in the rail sector—the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen and the RMT—along with police staff organisations will be included in the scope of his amendment, before I make a decision on whether to move my amendment 4.

We believe that transport unions must be included in the development of any new railway policing agreement in Scotland, that they must be represented at the railway policing management forum and that their views must be obtained as appropriate alongside those of other interested persons and bodies. My amendments in the group would achieve that.

I move amendment 1.

The Minister for Transport and the Islands (Humza Yousaf)

I am grateful to Neil Bibby for raising the issue of engagement with trade unions in railway policing matters through amendments 1, 3 and 4. Unions that represent railway employees of Network Rail or train operating companies clearly have a significant interest in railway policing, and indeed often rely on it for their own safety and security in their places of work. As I have made clear on several occasions, our key priority is to maintain and indeed to enhance the high standards of safety and security for railway users and staff in Scotland.

I am supportive of the aims of amendments 1, 3 and 4 to provide unions that represent railway staff with additional reassurances in the bill that their interests will be directly represented in mechanisms for engagement as set out in the bill. Engagement with trade unions is already covered in the bill as it stands, but I recognise the value of making that explicit in the bill as a more direct recognition of their significant interest. At the same time, we should also explicitly recognise the interests of the trade unions that represent police staff and the organisations that represent police officers, given that officers are not represented by traditional trade unions.

Amendment 4 defines the “relevant trade unions” for the purposes of amendments 1 and 3, but it does so in a way that would not cover bodies representing constables, who cannot be represented by trade unions—or by police staff. Although I am supportive of the principle behind amendment 4, I have had a brief discussion with Neil Bibby about the issue and have proposed an alternative approach in amendments 8 and 9. My amendments put beyond any doubt the fact that the representative groups that the Scottish Police Authority must consult with include trade unions that represent railway operator employees, such as the RMT and ASLEF, as well as organisations that represent police officers and unions such as the TSSA, which represents the BTP staff.

The Scottish Government supports amendments 1 and 3 and I ask Parliament to support them, too. I also ask Neil Bibby not to move amendment 4. I am happy to give him the assurance that he sought. As I explained, the working of amendment 4 excludes unions that represent police staff, such as the TSSA, and police officers’ representative organisations. The Scottish Government’s amendments 8 and 9 address that issue and will broaden out union engagement and ensure that the intentions in amendments 1, 3 and 4 are met. I therefore ask Parliament to support amendments 8 and 9 in my name.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

A few members wish to speak on this group, so please be succinct.

Margaret Mitchell (Central Scotland) (Con)

Amendment 1, in Neil Bibby’s name, seeks to ensure that trade unions join railway operators as members of a railway policing management forum to be established under the bill. Amendments 3 and 4 also seek to ensure that unions are consulted more generally on the policing of railways and railway property. They define “relevant trade unions” for the purposes of the bill.

My understanding is that manuscript amendments 8 and 9, which were lodged by the minister, Humza Yousaf, seek to clarify an error in amendments 3 and 4. Neil Bibby refers to engagement with “relevant trade unions”, but his amendments would not allow for the inclusion of the Scottish Police Federation, the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents and senior police officers’ staff associations. It is important that the views of such organisations on railway policing in Scotland are taken into account. The Scottish Conservatives will therefore support amendments 8 and 9.

The unions and the railway staff associations have made important contributions to the scrutiny of the bill. The points that they raised were valid and should have been taken on board by the Scottish Government. Sadly, the Scottish Government has remained totally intransigent, merely brushing aside concerns during the scrutiny process. In view of what any reasonable person would consider to be a totally unacceptable stance from the Scottish Government, it is not just right but absolutely essential that extraordinary provision is included in the bill to ensure that railway operators and the relevant trade unions are members of the policing management forum.

I therefore confirm that the Scottish Conservatives will support amendments 1, 8 and 9.

Mike Rumbles (North East Scotland) (LD)

As far as British Transport Police officers and staff, unions and the wider railway industry are concerned, the speed with which the Government has brought forward the bill has come as a major surprise. While discussions have been taking place since the bill was introduced, that has not made up for the lack of prior engagement with those who are most directly involved in and have the greatest understanding of the issues.

The fact that Scottish National Party ministers chose to consult on a single option—the dismantling of the BTP and merging it into Police Scotland—has only compounded the unease and, indeed, the anger felt. It is undoubtedly late in the day, but the amendments from Neil Bibby go some way in trying at least to redress the balance, and the Scottish Liberal Democrats will support them.

I accept the rationale behind the minister’s amendments. Although they do not address the bill’s fundamental shortcomings, they at least represent improvements to it. On that basis, we will support amendments 8 and 9.

We will support all the amendments, if they are all moved.

Mary Fee (West Scotland) (Lab)

I rise to speak in support of amendments 1, 3 and 4, in the name of Neil Bibby. The amendments are important because they would place trade unions on the face of the bill. In its present form, the bill makes no mention at all of the rail unions or collective bargaining. The amendments would require the membership of the proposed railway policing management forum to be expanded to include the rail unions. They would also add trade unions to the list of interested “persons and bodies” to be consulted by the Scottish Police Authority.

The amendments recognise the importance of consulting trade unions on the way forward for railway policing, so they have my support.

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Green)

I, too, declare an interest as a member of the RMT parliamentary group.

Neil Bibby and the minister have mentioned what has been omitted from the bill and what should be explicitly mentioned in it. Neil Bibby rightly talked about safety in that regard.

The Greens will support amendments 1, 3 and 4, and we will listen to what Mr Bibby says about accepting the Government’s amendments.

If the bill is passed, it is important that the trade unions and staff associations are involved right from the beginning in the railway policing management forum. I take a different view from that of Margaret Mitchell: that involvement should not be an extraordinary position, but the default position if we are to have a positive workforce.

We will support the amendments, not least because of the need for those bodies to be engaged on the safety issue, which has been a recurring theme throughout the debate on railway policing.

Ben Macpherson (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)

I rise to support Neil Bibby’s amendments 1 and 3 and the minister’s amendments 8 and 9.

Like the minister, I support in principle Neil Bibby’s amendment 4, but the drafting of the Government’s amendments 8 and 9 is more inclusive and comprehensive in broadening engagement and the representation of officers, especially given the inclusion of the Police Federation for Scotland in amendment 8 and of police staff in amendment 9. The explicit recognition of trade unions’ place on the railway policing management forum and the engagement of railway users and other interested persons have my support. I encourage others to support those amendments, too.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I call Neil Bibby to wind up, and to press or withdraw amendment 1.

Neil Bibby

As I have said, there is no requirement in the bill for trade unions or staff associations in the rail sector to be consulted. The purpose of the amendments in group 1 is to address that situation. Therefore, I will press amendments 1 and 3 in my name.

I have listened to what the minister has had to say and I am happy to support amendments 8 and 9 and to not move amendment 4, on the understanding that the effect of amendments 8 and 9 will be to require the Scottish Police Authority to consult the relevant trade unions. I hope that the chamber will support that position today.

Amendment 1 agreed to.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Group 2 is on training in relation to the policing of railways and railway property. Amendment 2, in the name of Neil Bibby, is grouped with amendment 5.

16:00  

Neil Bibby

The amendments in this group concern training in relation to the policing of railways and railway property. Amendment 2 requires that any agreement reached under section 85K(1)

“include arrangements for constables, who are assigned duties that relate to the policing of railways and railway property, to have completed personal track safety training.”

The purpose is not to put constraints on constables, but to ensure that skilled railway policing specialism is predicted.

Amendment 5 requires the chief constable to ensure that any

“constables assigned duties that relate to the policing of railways or railway property”

have to undergo “the necessary training.” That should include personal track safety training.

The approach in amendments 2 and 5 refines that of the similar amendments that the Justice Committee considered at stage 2. The purpose is not to place constraints on constables or interfere with operational matters but to guarantee that railway policing skills are protected. We cannot do that without amending the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

Amendment 5 would require the Scottish Government to make regulations setting out the level of training required. Throughout the bill process, major concerns have been raised about the level of training that would be provided to police officers who police the railways and about the dilution of the specialism of railway policing, but the bill makes no mention of training. My amendments seek to address that.

There is also a lack of clarity about the cost of new training requirements and the numbers involved. Currently there are 200 transport police officers in D division who have personal track safety certificates. There are more than 17,000 police officers in Police Scotland, so there would be significant cost implications if they were all required to undergo personal track safety training, although Police Scotland seems to have suggested that that will happen.

Police Scotland gave an undertaking to the Justice Committee to return at stage 2 with details of its training needs analysis and details on cost. We do not consider that the information that was eventually provided is detailed; it does not properly address needs or cost. Amendments 2 and 5 provide that the Government would make regulations setting out the level of training required. There would be transparency for the public, for the police and for the rail operators, who might ultimately have to meet training costs through the railway policing agreements.

I move amendment 2.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

People might have noticed a buzzing in the background in the chamber. I am afraid that nothing can be done about it. There are a lot of puzzled looks; ah, I see that members who had not noticed it are noticing it now. [Laughter.] We must just persevere. I ask speakers to speak a little louder, as some folk are finding it quite hard to hear.

Margaret Mitchell

Amendments 2 and 5 are similar to the ones that Douglas Ross and I lodged at stage 2 but pick up on criticism at stage 2 and seek to clarify when the requirement for a personal track safety certificate will apply. Amendment 2 clearly provides that that will be when police constables are assigned duties that relate to the policing of railways. Amendment 5 includes trade unions among the bodies that must be consulted in relation to personal track safety training.

At stage 1, the British Transport Police Federation told the committee:

“Every officer in Police Scotland who intends to police the railway—or go anywhere near the railway—will have to have the personal track safety certificate.”

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers agreed and said:

“Police Scotland would not have access to our railways if there was a derailment or a collision or any trespass on a railway. If Police Scotland officers do not have a PTS certificate, they cannot go on or near the running line.”—[Official Report, Justice Committee, 14 March 2017; c 40, 59.]

The rail operators all agreed with those statements. It would therefore be irresponsible not to address training adequately by ensuring that the necessary provisions in relation to PTS certificates are included in the bill. Amendments 2 and 5 achieve that objective; the Scottish Conservatives will therefore support them.

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)

Mr Bibby’s amendments 2 and 5 are a modest improvement on the amendments that were considered at stage 2, in that they would apply only to

“constables, who are assigned duties that relate to the policing of railways and railway property”,

whereas the previous amendments covered all police officers.

However, let us consider what the amendments mean, because there are difficulties with how they are constructed. Via the addition of proposed new section 85M(1) of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, there is a definition of “railway property”, which includes “a station” and

“a train used on a network”.

Proposed new section 85M(3) cross-refers to section 83 of the Railways Act 1993, which says:

“‘station’ means any land or other property which consists of premises used as, or for the purposes of, or otherwise in connection with, a railway passenger station or railway passenger terminal (including any approaches, forecourt, cycle store or car park), whether or not the land or other property is, or the premises are, also used for other purposes”.

The bottom line is that the areas to which the amendment would apply—trains on the network and stations—are very extensive indeed.

Therein lies the genuine difficulty. Amendment 2, of course, relates to police

“who are assigned duties that relate to the policing of railways and railway property”,

so let us consider a practical issue. With the heightened security situation that we had, Police Scotland armed police were deployed on the concourse at Waverley station. I was not at other stations; I dare say that armed police were. That falls within the definition in amendment 2. Under that amendment, it would not be possible for those Police Scotland armed officers to be deployed at Waverley station and other stations unless they had personal track safety certificates.

I accept 100 per cent that, if an officer is going on the track and is close to operational trains, there are particular issues but that is not what amendment 2 actually relates to. Under the amendment, we are saying that constables who are deployed to an urgent shout cannot be deployed to station car parks, booking offices or even waiting rooms without special training. Those are areas that I, without any special training, am allowed to access at any time, as any other member of the public is.

Pauline McNeill (Glasgow) (Lab)

Will Stewart Stevenson give way?

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I am sorry, the member is just closing.

Stewart Stevenson

There is also the overall point that, to be blunt, training is a matter for the chief constable. He or she will know how the police network has to operate and must make the appropriate decisions. We shall not second-guess what we need now or in future.

John Finnie

I absolutely understand that concerns about safety prompt amendments 2 and 5. However, I wonder whether training provision should be in any bill, to be honest.

The railway industry is rightly a heavily regulated industry. Mr Stevenson rightly highlights one of the difficulties with amendment 2. I was going to cite a similar situation in Inverness, whereby the armed police who were deployed on the concourse of the station could not have been deployed there under the amendment. We need to draw a clear distinction between deployments to property and the very significant concerns about track-side deployment.

Health and safety is an important role for trade unions and staff associations. I assure members absolutely that my former colleagues in the Scottish Police Federation will be vigilant on the issue. The matter is a deployment issue and an operational one. I absolutely support the highest standards of safety but we do not need this in the bill.

Stewart Stevenson

Presiding Officer, forgive me, can I make a declaration before we move on?

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Excuse me, Mr Stevenson?

Stewart Stevenson

I have a declaration of interests that I forgot to make.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I will bring you in at the end of this group if you feel obliged to do so.

Mary Fee

I raised concerns earlier about the omission of trade unions from the bill and I will also raise concerns about the omission of training.

In its stage 1 report, the Justice Committee stated clearly:

“There are areas of the railways that police officers should not enter without a Personal Track Safety Certificate.”

It was a specific recommendation of the committee that Police Scotland should provide more information about the consequent costs of training. Police Scotland provided an update that was so generic in nature that it has not satisfied me or many others that there is sufficient clarity about the bill’s implications for officer training. Amendments 2 and 5 seek to provide a greater level of clarity and transparency and, crucially, would ensure that constables who are assigned duties to police railways and railway property are properly trained. For that reason, I will vote to support them.

Mike Rumbles

Throughout Parliament’s consideration of the bill, questions have been raised about how the expertise within the British Transport Police can be maintained and safeguarded. The minister and Police Scotland have made bold promises about how the bill will help to expand massively the capacity of officers with expertise in railway policing. In truth, it is hard to see how the figures stack up on that and I welcome the fact that Neil Bibby is pressing the issue, as I welcomed its being pressed at stage 2.

I am not convinced by Stewart Stevenson’s contribution. It was a red herring. The police officers are to be assigned duties and, if they are to be assigned duties to the locations mentioned, they need to be properly trained.

Neil Bibby’s amendments 2 and 5 appear to address concerns that were raised about similar amendments that were lodged at stage 2. On that basis, although I will listen to what the minister has to say, the Scottish Liberal Democrats are inclined to support the changes proposed in the amendments.

Pauline McNeill

I wish to press this point. I wanted to clarify what Stewart Stevenson was saying. Listening to the debate so far, I have understood him to be saying that any police officer who has a firearm and does not have a training certificate could not attend. I have to ask the question: what happens just now? It is being suggested that there is a deficiency.

Stewart Stevenson

Would the member take a brief intervention?

Pauline McNeill

Members listening to the debate who will be voting against the bill this evening, as I will be, note the concern that, in a complete integration of the system, we must ensure that the police officers who are assigned to transport duties are appropriate. That is a big concern among many members when it comes to voting for the bill this evening.

If Mr Stevenson is correct, if those police officers cannot attend, that suggests that there is a deficiency at the moment.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Are you finished, Ms McNeill, or are you allowing an intervention?

Pauline McNeill

I will allow an intervention from Stewart Stevenson if he wants to clarify that point.

Stewart Stevenson

It is a very technical point. It is just that the definition of a station includes areas where Police Scotland should have free access without track certificates—but, of course, officers should not go on or near the active railway without them. It is a purely definitional issue, not a policy issue.

Pauline McNeill

Well, there you have it. It may be a technical issue, but I do not really think that firearms officers cannot attend a security breach anywhere on our railways. It sounds to me like Stewart Stevenson’s point is a wee bit of a red herring.

Elaine Smith (Central Scotland) (Lab)

I put it on record that I am convener of the RMT’s parliamentary group.

I wish to raise a point that is relevant to the training issue. The RMT is currently working with Network Rail and the British Transport Police on the new emergency intervention units, which will respond to incidents in order to improve safety, reduce disruptions and prevent and detect crime. The RMT is concerned about the status of the EIUs if the bill is passed. I would be keen to hear the minister’s comments on that.

I support amendments 2 and 5, as their provisions could help to address such concerns.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

This is quite irregular, but I am happy to let Mr Stevenson in for a very quick statement.

Stewart Stevenson

I draw attention to my entry in the register of interests, which shows that I am honorary president of the Scottish Association for Public Transport and honorary vice-president of Railfuture UK. Thank you, Presiding Officer.

Humza Yousaf

Although they take slightly different routes to doing so, Neil Bibby’s amendments 2 and 5 both seek to apply statutory requirements to the nature and level of training that officers should have in a particular operational policing area. Similar amendments were lodged by the Conservatives at stage 2. As I explained to the Justice Committee at the time, neither the Scottish Parliament nor the Scottish Government should attempt to intervene in operational policing by dictating fixed training requirements for police officers. Neil Bibby said that it was not his intention to do that, but his amendments would in effect be doing just that. We are aware of no precedent for Parliament prescribing requirements on the chief constable in that way, and the Scottish Government cannot support either of Neil Bibby’s amendments.

John Finnie has made a number of pertinent remarks on the issue, both just now and during stage 2 committee consideration. He highlighted the point that the work of Police Scotland covers a wide range of specialist areas of expertise, all of which come with their own distinct skills, requirements, risks and specialist training. At stage 2 he mentioned firearms, dog handling, detecting explosives and vehicle examinations as just some of those areas. As he pointed out, health and safety legislation applies to all of those.

Of course, we do not attempt to determine what firearms qualifications, driving qualifications and so on police officers should have. Those are operational policing matters. Once again, to borrow John Finnie’s words, we should not be micromanaging the police. It is the chief constable who is responsible for operational policing. His responsibilities include ensuring that officers across Police Scotland have the specialist training that they need to carry out their duties. That is continually kept under review to meet operational requirements.

Police Scotland has written three times to the Justice Committee, providing details on the work that it is doing on training requirements for specialist railway policing. I refer interested members to that correspondence, which sets out how differing levels of requirements for specialist railway police training will be met. It is available on the Justice Committee’s web pages. Police Scotland is currently working with the BTP on a detailed training needs analysis, and we should allow those with the expertise to continue with that work.

The Scottish Government opposes the amendments and I ask Neil Bibby not to press them. If they are pressed, I ask Parliament to reject them.

16:15  

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I call Neil Bibby to wind up and press or withdraw amendment 2.

Neil Bibby

The bill in its present form makes no mention of training, yet the post-integration needs of Police Scotland and the associated costs have been a major concern of the British Transport Police Federation, the trade unions and members of the Justice Committee. I assure Stewart Stevenson and other members that I am not seeking a departure from current practice. However, without making specific provisions in the bill, the transport policing specialism could be diluted and specialist skills could be lost. We cannot allow that to happen.

There is not enough clarity or transparency about training in the bill, which is what my amendments, which are a refinement on stage 2 amendments, aim to address. As Stewart Stevenson said, my amendments are an improvement. They are about assigned duties, which is why I intend to press the amendments in my name.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The question is, that amendment 2 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

There will be a division. As this is the first division at this stage, I suspend proceedings for five minutes.

16:16 Meeting suspended.  16:21 On resuming—  

The Deputy Presiding Officer

We move to the division on amendment 2.

For

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Evans, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 53, Against 66, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 2 disagreed to.

Amendment 3 moved—[Neil Bibby]—and agreed to.

Amendment 8 moved—[Humza Yousaf]—and agreed to.

Amendment 4 not moved.

Amendment 9 moved—[Humza Yousaf]—and agreed to.

After section 2

Amendment 5 moved—[Neil Bibby].

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The question is, that amendment 5 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Evans, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 51, Against 66, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 5 disagreed to.

After section 6

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Group 3 is on review. Amendment 6, in the name of Neil Bibby, is the only amendment in the group.

Neil Bibby

Amendment 6 would create a review period that would begin on the day on which section 4 of the act comes into force and end no later than 12 months afterwards. Section 4 relates to the functions that will no longer be exercisable in Scotland—specifically the functions of the British Transport Police Authority. The amendment would require an independent review of the act, following a review period of no more than 12 months. The review body would be appointed by Parliament and should conclude its work no later than six months after the end of the review period. The Scottish Government should issue a response no later than six months after that. The Scottish Government may then, through regulation, modify the act in line with the recommendations of that independent review. Any regulations that are made under section 4 would be subject to affirmative procedure. In effect, 12 months after any new railway policing arrangements are put in place, Parliament could revisit the issue.

Not one of the principal stakeholders that are involved with the British Transport Police—the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen, the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the British Transport Police Federation, Abellio ScotRail, Virgin East Coast, Virgin West Coast and Arriva CrossCountry, to name just a few—supports the bill. The majority of respondents to the Scottish Government’s consultation and the Justice Committee’s call for evidence opposed the bill. Today, many of the critical issues that arose from the consultation and the committee’s evidence sessions remain unresolved. Trade unions tell us that they believe that agreements on terms and conditions and pre-legislative scrutiny have been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency.

Amendment 6 is a safeguard against a rushed, reckless and irresponsible piece of legislation. It would guarantee that Parliament would revisit integration of the British Transport Police with Police Scotland. I believe that we will, if we pass the bill today, be making a big mistake. If the Government will not listen, it should at least agree to revisit the legislation. That is why a review is necessary—an independent review on which Parliament would have a formal say.

I move amendment 6.

Margaret Mitchell

Amendment 6 seeks to strengthen scrutiny of the bill, should it be passed today at decision time. Given the lack of information that has been provided by the Scottish Government regarding the costs of implementation and regarding the legal structure by which British Transport Police officers will be transferred into Police Scotland, the setting up of an independent body to report on the operation of the act is not only an eminently sensible suggestion, but a necessary one.

Amendment 6 would also require that the report from the independent body be responded to by Scottish ministers in consultation with Parliament. Should the Scottish Government vote against the amendment today, it will merely confirm the lengths that it has been willing to go to in order to avoid thorough scrutiny of its decisions throughout this process and beyond.

In the interests of accountability and transparency, amendment 6 should be passed, which is why it has the full support of the Scottish Conservatives.

Mike Rumbles

Given the seriousness of the concerns that have been raised in relation to the bill, and the likelihood that the bill will, despite them, be passed into law later today, and given the slavish support that the SNP Government receives from its Green Party MSP partners—[Interruption.]

Well, they are its partners, are they not? [Interruption.] Look—we have a minority Government, do we not?

I certainly urge the Parliament—[Interruption.] Gosh! I certainly seem to have stirred some boxes.

John Finnie

Will the member take an intervention?

Mike Rumbles

No. I think that I would like to proceed.

I certainly urge Parliament to take steps to keep ministers on their toes.

Tom Arthur (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)

Play the man, why don’t you?

Mike Rumbles

It is interesting that, given all the negativity about the bill, SNP members can only heckle.

The lack of prior consultation and the determination of ministers—[Interruption.]

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Order. Can we have a bit of quiet please? It is difficult enough for us to proceed because we have a difficulty with the system without making it worse.

16:30  

Mike Rumbles

As I was saying, given the lack of prior consultation and the determination of ministers to proceed with the dismantling of the BTP and its merger with Scotland’s centralised police force, the least that we should do at this stage is place an obligation on the Government to review the legislation. That does not seem unreasonable to me, and it is as is proposed by Neil Bibby in amendment 6.

As the minister knows from amendments that were lodged by my colleague Liam McArthur at stage 2, Scottish Liberal Democrats believe that a more fundamental safeguard is required. As we will come to shortly in the context of the final amendment, we believe that implementation of the ill-judged proposals should be delayed until some of the significant flaws can be addressed—if, indeed, that is possible. For now, however, we are happy to support Mr Bibby’s reasonable call for a review in the terms that are set out in amendment 6.

Humza Yousaf

I recognise the desire that is shown by amendment 6 from Neil Bibby for on-going parliamentary scrutiny of railway policing, following integration of the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland. However, I do not believe that the approach that is set out in the amendment is the right one, and the Scottish Government cannot support it.

Well-developed mechanisms are already in place for parliamentary scrutiny of policing and policing legislation. I am sure that Neil Bibby does not intend to cast doubt on the effectiveness of those. Let me provide a reminder of what they involve.

Section 124 of the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012 already obliges Parliament to keep that act under review. It is in that very act that the majority of the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill will make insertions. That means that a clear mechanism for review is already very much in place—via the Justice Sub-Committee on Policing—under which Parliament is obliged to review and report. Of course, it is also open to Parliament to conduct post-legislative scrutiny at any time.

The Justice Committee’s stage 1 report also asked the Scottish Government to provide six-monthly progress reports to Parliament on the work of the joint programme board. In responding to that report, I confirmed that we will do that. That will ensure that Parliament is kept up to date with progress on the board’s work throughout the period of integration. I am happy to give an undertaking today that the Scottish Government will continue to provide progress reports for at least the first year following integration, in order to provide the opportunity for parliamentary scrutiny through the period to which Neil Bibby‘s amendment refers. I welcome Parliament’s keen interest in ensuring that the newly devolved railway policing powers will be used effectively. Indeed, it is a fundamental premise of the bill that Parliament should scrutinise how policing of the railways is carried out in Scotland. The bill is about ensuring that railway policing is accountable to Parliament.

I was surprised to hear in Margaret Mitchell’s contribution that she does not think that the bill has been scrutinised particularly well; she is convener of the committee that scrutinised it. Following Mike Rumbles’s contribution for the Liberal Democrats, I remind him that his party also supported the bill at stage 1.

I do not believe that we need an independent reporting body and provision for yet more regulations when strong and effective scrutiny powers and processes are already in place. Amendment 6 would create duplication and, potentially, confusion. I ask Neil Bibby not to press the amendment, and I ask Parliament to reject it if he does.

Neil Bibby

Trade unions and staff associations have described the Scottish Government’s approach to the bill as being “ideologically driven”. Despite being presented with different options for devolution by the BTPA, it has been focused on one outcome, and one outcome only: breaking up the BTP. The weight of evidence is against it, the workforce is against it and police officers are warning that the break-up will be unsafe, yet the Scottish Government has carried on regardless. That is why it is important that we ensure and guarantee an independent review if the bill is passed. I welcome the support of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, and I hope that the Greens will also support my reasonable request.

I will press amendment 6.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The question is, that amendment 6 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

There will be a division.

For

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Evans, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 53, Against 65, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 6 disagreed to.

Section 7—Commencement

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Group 4 is on commencement. Amendment 7, in the name of Liam McArthur, is the only amendment in the group.

Mike Rumbles

In a sense, this is the last chance saloon for Parliament when it comes to dealing with the bill—a bill that has been rushed through with inadequate consultation and despite overwhelming opposition among those who responded to the Government and those who responded to the Justice Committee’s call for evidence. We supported the bill at stage 1 to see whether we could improve it, but it is proving impossible to do so. As my colleague Liam McArthur made clear at stage 1, Parliament has repeatedly heard concerns about the impact that the bill is likely to have on BTP officers and staff, on the availability of specialist expertise around the policing of our railways and even, potentially, on the ability of the railway operators to provide a safe and efficient service to the travelling public.

Since the stage 1 debate, we have been informed that Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary in Scotland was committed to producing a piece of work on the BTP this spring. The inspectorate’s phase 1 work, involving an inspection of the efficiency, leadership and legitimacy of the British Transport Police, was to be followed in the autumn by phase 2, involving a joint inspection with the inspectorate south of the border into the effectiveness of the BTP. The inspectorate was to use its inspection activity

“to identify strategic issues relating to the devolution of railway policing in Scotland and the transfer of functions from BTP and the British Transport Police Authority to Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Authority”,

yet the phase 1 report has not yet been made available. Perhaps the minister can shed light on that. What he cannot do, however, is persuade me and my colleagues that that delay will do anything to allay concerns among stakeholders and the wider public about the gung-ho fashion in which the SNP Government is blundering on with this latest policing merger.

Concerns have also been expressed about the ability of Police Scotland to accommodate yet more structural change. Audit Scotland has highlighted serious shortcomings in Police Scotland’s financial management, many of the savings that were promised by ministers at the time of centralisation—a centralisation that we opposed—have not materialised and ministers are about to embark upon a wholesale review as part of policing 2026. In those circumstances, even Police Scotland’s severest critics would not wish this latest merger on it. Add to that a Scottish Police Authority that cannot seem to keep out of the headlines at the moment and is on the hunt for a new chair after the resignation this month of Andrew Flanagan, and this looks like the wrong move, at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons.

If the Government is intent on pressing ahead, there is a compelling case for delaying implementation of the bill’s provisions. Amendment 7, in Liam McArthur’s name, proposes a delay of 10 years. I am grateful to Stewart Stevenson, this time, for his helpful suggestion at stage 2 that the amendment should stipulate “no sooner than 2027”, which has been taken fully on board. Thank you, Stewart. I firmly believe that such a delay is in the interests not only of policing in Scotland, both on our railways and more widely, but of the travelling public and this Parliament, by allowing more time for the ground to be better prepared, even if the direction of travel remains the same.

I move amendment 7.

Margaret Mitchell

Amendment 7 delays the commencement of the bill to 1 April 2027. The delay would allow the Scottish Government to take into account the vocal opposition to the bill that has been heard in Parliament today and from almost every stakeholder who would be affected. From consultation through to stage 3, the Scottish Government’s intransigence and refusal to accept any measure to improve the bill has been nothing if not consistent.

A delay in the commencement of the bill would allow the Scottish Government to take on board the many valid and serious criticisms of the bill. In addition, it would provide a much needed opportunity for the other two options set out by the British Transport Police to be considered. Given the recent terrorist attacks and the fact that the United Kingdom is still on serious alert, this is not the time to rush through potentially dangerous legislation that puts the safety of staff and passengers on our railways at risk. I urge other members not to blindly adhere to the party whip and to join the Scottish Conservatives in supporting amendment 7.

Mairi Evans (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)

It will be no surprise that I completely disagree with the sentiments expressed by Margaret Mitchell and Mike Rumbles. I cannot support amendment 7, in the name of Liam McArthur, which is effectively a wrecking amendment and would introduce a delay for another decade.

What would happen in Scotland in the interim, particularly if the Tories’ plans in England go ahead? We have to bear that in mind when we consider the amendment. Let us not forget what the Conservative 2017 manifesto says:

“We will create a national infrastructure police force, bringing together the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, the Ministry of Defence Police and the British Transport Police to improve the protection of critical infrastructure such as nuclear sites, railways and the strategic road network.”

Why is it one rule down there and another up here? I get the feeling that the Tories are against it because it is an SNP proposal.

There are a number of reasons why I support the bill as it stands. The map of the rail network in Scotland shows that there is a vast area north of Perth towards the Highlands and north of Dundee towards Aberdeen that is serviced by secondary and rural lines. That area is currently covered by 28 officers, located at Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. That means that dozens of rural stations are covered 24 hours a day by only 28 full-time officers on a rotational shift basis. The area covers approximately a third of the entire rail network in Scotland, which is just over 2,800 km in total.

The cabinet secretary already informed the Justice Committee that policing of railway incidents that occur beyond the central belt is

“largely delivered by Police Scotland”.—[Official Report, Justice Committee, 28 March 2017; c 13.]

I know that from experience in my constituency, and it happens because of the length of time that it takes British Transport Police officers to respond.

By agreeing to the amendment, we would limit—to use Liam McArthur’s phrase—the “availability of specialist expertise” until April 2027. We received written evidence from Assistant Chief Constable Higgins, who saw the bill as

“an opportunity to weave railway legislation ... and other associated elements into the curriculum for probationer training. This will allow every officer joining Police Scotland to operate safely in the railway environment.”

He said that that will

“ensure that all officers have an understanding of the requirements of working on the railways, including legislative inputs, policing powers, safe systems of working, line disruption and track safety.”

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You must come to a close, Ms Evans.

Mairi Evans

I am just coming to a close, Presiding Officer.

It seems to me that having well-trained Police Scotland officers and a specialist railway division within Police Scotland benefiting from working alongside experienced British Transport Police officers can only lead to an improvement of the service, not just for rural communities, but across the whole railway network. That will—

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You must close, Ms Evans.

Mairi Evans

It will bolster the services that we have instead of diminishing them.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

I remind all members that there will be a debate following our stage 3 deliberations and that stage 3 deliberations are time limited. When I say that a member must come to a close, they really must do so.

16:45  

Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)

There are serious concerns about the timing of the bill and the significant challenges that are facing Police Scotland and the SPA. Audit Scotland has identified a financial black hole that Police Scotland is struggling to fill; Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary in Scotland has recently identified a lack of leadership and poor financial management at the SPA; and we can all point to difficulties arising from the handling of the police merger. The 2026 police strategy has just been published and our focus must be on building confidence in Police Scotland and delivering a modern police force.

Breaking up the British Transport Police has been identified as the most expensive and high-risk option for the devolution of the functions of the British Transport Police. I agree that now is not the right time to push forward with the merger.

Humza Yousaf

During the Justice Committee’s stage 2 consideration, we debated a similar amendment to Liam McArthur’s amendment 7, which Mike Rumbles has moved. No one in the chamber will be surprised to hear that I strongly opposed the stage 2 amendment, and that I will oppose amendment 7.

Amendment 7 would delay commencement of the bill to

“no sooner than 1 April 2027”,

which would potentially mean an even longer delay than would have been the case under Liam McArthur’s stage 2 amendment, under which the provisions would have commenced on the exact date of 1 April 2027.

As Mike Rumbles has explained, Liam McArthur’s reason for proposing such a delay is to give more time for the SPA, Police Scotland and others to prepare. However, in the Justice Committee’s evidence sessions, the chief executive of the SPA and ACC Bernie Higgins of Police Scotland both gave their view that the target date for integration of 1 April 2019 is achievable. ACC Higgins went further and described it as “a luxury”.

In the stage 1 debate, I referred to the work of the joint programme board that is overseeing the overall programme of work to integrate the BTP in Scotland into Police Scotland for that date. Through the board, the Scottish Government is working closely with the UK Government, the SPA, the British Transport Police Authority, Police Scotland and of course the BTP. In that debate, I gave an undertaking that we will provide six-monthly progress reports to Parliament on the work of the joint programme board, in line with a recommendation in the Justice Committee’s stage 1 report. Those progress reports will provide regular opportunities to scrutinise progress.

Our readiness is one part of the picture, but another crucial question is what would happen to railway policing in Scotland in the meantime if we decided to sit back and wait, as amendment 7 suggests. Mairi Evans made the point well that, as I am sure members are now very aware, the Conservative manifesto for the recent UK elections set out an alternative path for the BTP. Mairi Evans was slightly wrong when she said that it was in the UK Tory manifesto, as in fact the Scottish Conservative manifesto also sets out that the BTP is to be integrated with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the MOD Police into a new national infrastructure police force. If the Conservatives have their way, it is likely that there will no longer be a British Transport Police by 1 April 2027. I therefore believe that we should continue on the timescales that we and our partners are currently working to.

In relation to the points that have been made—

The Deputy Presiding Officer

You must close please, minister.

Humza Yousaf

It would be remiss of any member to suggest that integration will somehow compromise safety. The response to recent attacks has shown that Police Scotland can provide an armed response at transport hubs.

I ask Mike Rumbles not to press amendment 7 but, if it is pressed, I ask Parliament to reject it.

Mike Rumbles

In response to the minister, I point out that ACC Higgins’s reference to the timeframe being generous only underscores the other difficulties that ACC Higgins and his colleagues are grappling with. It should not be taken as enthusiasm on his part for taking on that increased workload and further structural change.

I am not surprised that the minister opposes amendment 7, and I am sure that it will be disagreed to, with the help of his Green friends and partners on the other side of the chamber, who seem to support everything that the SNP Government does. [Interruption.] I have obviously struck a chord there, because there seems to be dissonance on the SNP back benches. I will press the amendment.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The question is, that amendment 7 be agreed to. Are we agreed?

Members: No!

The Deputy Presiding Officer

Clearly, there will be a division.

For

Baillie, Jackie (Dumbarton) (Lab)
Baker, Claire (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Balfour, Jeremy (Lothian) (Con)
Ballantyne, Michelle (South Scotland) (Con)
Beamish, Claudia (South Scotland) (Lab)
Bibby, Neil (West Scotland) (Lab)
Bowman, Bill (North East Scotland) (Con)
Briggs, Miles (Lothian) (Con)
Burnett, Alexander (Aberdeenshire West) (Con)
Cameron, Donald (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Carlaw, Jackson (Eastwood) (Con)
Carson, Finlay (Galloway and West Dumfries) (Con)
Chapman, Peter (North East Scotland) (Con)
Cole-Hamilton, Alex (Edinburgh Western) (LD)
Corry, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Davidson, Ruth (Edinburgh Central) (Con)
Dugdale, Kezia (Lothian) (Lab)
Fee, Mary (West Scotland) (Lab)
Findlay, Neil (Lothian) (Lab)
Fraser, Murdo (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Golden, Maurice (West Scotland) (Con)
Grant, Rhoda (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Gray, Iain (East Lothian) (Lab)
Greene, Jamie (West Scotland) (Con)
Halcro Johnston, Jamie (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Hamilton, Rachael (Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire) (Con)
Harris, Alison (Central Scotland) (Con)
Johnson, Daniel (Edinburgh Southern) (Lab)
Kelly, James (Glasgow) (Lab)
Kerr, Liam (North East Scotland) (Con)
Lamont, Johann (Glasgow) (Lab)
Lennon, Monica (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Leonard, Richard (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Lindhurst, Gordon (Lothian) (Con)
Lockhart, Dean (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Macdonald, Lewis (North East Scotland) (Lab)
Mason, Tom (North East Scotland) (Con)
McNeill, Pauline (Glasgow) (Lab)
Mitchell, Margaret (Central Scotland) (Con)
Mountain, Edward (Highlands and Islands) (Con)
Mundell, Oliver (Dumfriesshire) (Con)
Rennie, Willie (North East Fife) (LD)
Rowley, Alex (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab)
Rumbles, Mike (North East Scotland) (LD)
Sarwar, Anas (Glasgow) (Lab)
Simpson, Graham (Central Scotland) (Con)
Smith, Elaine (Central Scotland) (Lab)
Smith, Liz (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Smyth, Colin (South Scotland) (Lab)
Stewart, Alexander (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con)
Stewart, David (Highlands and Islands) (Lab)
Wells, Annie (Glasgow) (Con)
Whittle, Brian (South Scotland) (Con)

Against

Adam, George (Paisley) (SNP)
Adamson, Clare (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)
Allan, Alasdair (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) (SNP)
Arthur, Tom (Renfrewshire South) (SNP)
Beattie, Colin (Midlothian North and Musselburgh) (SNP)
Brown, Keith (Clackmannanshire and Dunblane) (SNP)
Campbell, Aileen (Clydesdale) (SNP)
Coffey, Willie (Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley) (SNP)
Constance, Angela (Almond Valley) (SNP)
Crawford, Bruce (Stirling) (SNP)
Cunningham, Roseanna (Perthshire South and Kinross-shire) (SNP)
Denham, Ash (Edinburgh Eastern) (SNP)
Dey, Graeme (Angus South) (SNP)
Doris, Bob (Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn) (SNP)
Dornan, James (Glasgow Cathcart) (SNP)
Evans, Mairi (Angus North and Mearns) (SNP)
Ewing, Annabelle (Cowdenbeath) (SNP)
Ewing, Fergus (Inverness and Nairn) (SNP)
Finnie, John (Highlands and Islands) (Green)
FitzPatrick, Joe (Dundee City West) (SNP)
Forbes, Kate (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch) (SNP)
Freeman, Jeane (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley) (SNP)
Gibson, Kenneth (Cunninghame North) (SNP)
Gilruth, Jenny (Mid Fife and Glenrothes) (SNP)
Grahame, Christine (Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale) (SNP)
Greer, Ross (West Scotland) (Green)
Harper, Emma (South Scotland) (SNP)
Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)
Haughey, Clare (Rutherglen) (SNP)
Hepburn, Jamie (Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) (SNP)
Hyslop, Fiona (Linlithgow) (SNP)
Johnstone, Alison (Lothian) (Green)
Kidd, Bill (Glasgow Anniesland) (SNP)
Lochhead, Richard (Moray) (SNP)
Lyle, Richard (Uddingston and Bellshill) (SNP)
MacDonald, Angus (Falkirk East) (SNP)
MacDonald, Gordon (Edinburgh Pentlands) (SNP)
MacGregor, Fulton (Coatbridge and Chryston) (SNP)
Mackay, Derek (Renfrewshire North and West) (SNP)
Mackay, Rona (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (SNP)
Macpherson, Ben (Edinburgh Northern and Leith) (SNP)
Maguire, Ruth (Cunninghame South) (SNP)
Martin, Gillian (Aberdeenshire East) (SNP)
Mason, John (Glasgow Shettleston) (SNP)
Matheson, Michael (Falkirk West) (SNP)
McAlpine, Joan (South Scotland) (SNP)
McDonald, Mark (Aberdeen Donside) (SNP)
McKee, Ivan (Glasgow Provan) (SNP)
McKelvie, Christina (Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse) (SNP)
McMillan, Stuart (Greenock and Inverclyde) (SNP)
Neil, Alex (Airdrie and Shotts) (SNP)
Robison, Shona (Dundee City East) (SNP)
Ross, Gail (Caithness, Sutherland and Ross) (SNP)
Ruskell, Mark (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Green)
Somerville, Shirley-Anne (Dunfermline) (SNP)
Stevenson, Stewart (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP)
Stewart, Kevin (Aberdeen Central) (SNP)
Sturgeon, Nicola (Glasgow Southside) (SNP)
Swinney, John (Perthshire North) (SNP)
Todd, Maree (Highlands and Islands) (SNP)
Torrance, David (Kirkcaldy) (SNP)
Watt, Maureen (Aberdeen South and North Kincardine) (SNP)
Wheelhouse, Paul (South Scotland) (SNP)
White, Sandra (Glasgow Kelvin) (SNP)
Wightman, Andy (Lothian) (Green)
Yousaf, Humza (Glasgow Pollok) (SNP)

The Deputy Presiding Officer

The result of the division is: For 53, Against 66, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 7 disagreed to.

The Deputy Presiding Officer

That ends consideration of amendments to the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill.

As members will be aware, at this point in the proceedings the Presiding Officer is now required under standing orders to decide whether the motion to pass the bill will require support from a supermajority of members: that is, a two-thirds majority, which is 86 members. In this case, the Presiding Officer has decided that, in his view, no provision in the Railway Policing (Scotland) Bill relates to a protected subject matter. Therefore, the bill does not require a supermajority to be passed at stage 3.