BTP confident vetting processes are now ‘rigorous and effective’ following HMICFRS inspection

The latest report from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has praised British Transport Police (BTP) for treating people with respect, promoting an ethical and inclusive culture at all levels and protecting vulnerable people.

Feb 23, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The report into the force’s effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy was published on Thursday (February 22) following a visit from inspectors between May and October 2022.

Deputy Chief Constable Alistair Sutherland said: “We know how incredibly important it is that everyone using the railway can trust BTP to keep people safe, and treat everyone with respect.

“So we’re proud that a report released today shows us to be doing just that.

“Inspectors from HMICFRS found us to be a force that treats people with fairness and respect, works innovatively with partners to prevent suicide and identify those with risk, and understands the importance of neighbourhood policing.”

The force was graded as ‘good’ in the following areas:

  • Engaging with and treating the public with fairness and respect;
  • Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour;
  • Protecting vulnerable people; and
  • Building, supporting and protecting the workforce.

Inspectors also praised BTP’s innovative use of social media campaigns to encourage reporting of sexual harassment and work to safeguard vulnerable and young people.

The force was graded as ‘adequate’ in strategic planning, organisational management and value for money.

Mr Sutherland added: “We know there is more work to do but this is an organisation of dedicated people determined to ensure we’re in the best possible place we can be.

“I am proud to be leading such a forward-thinking and innovative police force, determined to do the right thing and keep our communities safe.”

The deputy chief constable said at the time of the HMICFRS inspection, the force was midway through a “journey to improvement” and was in the process of “proactively addressing some of the gaps in our system that we had identified”.

“I’m pleased to say that every action identified in the HMICFRS report was completed by February 2023,” said Mr Sutherland.

“Within BTP Professional Standards’ Department, we have invested over £1 million in technology and people. We increased the size of our vetting team three-fold and purchased new software to make vetting simpler for both the applicant and the team.

“These changes mean we are one of only two forces in the UK to have been awarded an ‘ISO9001 Quality Management system accreditation’ – an independently awarded standard for quality in our vetting systems and processes.

“We have re-vetted all of our staff and put every single BTP officer, member of staff and volunteer through the Police National Computer and Police National Database checks.

“We know how important it is that the public have trust in the people who work for BTP. I am confident that our systems we use including our vetting processes are rigorous, effective and fully up-to-date. We’re absolutely committed to proactively dealing with counter corruption strategy.

“We have extended an invite to HMICFRS to return to our force to review the extensive work undertaken since this visit was conducted.”

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