A detailed look back at the history of railway policing and how
British Transport Police was formed. This information was first
provided by the British Transport Police History
Policing into the millennium
The IRA targeted Britain's railways in the early 1990s with
bombs exploding on railway stations, lineside and on trains. The
problem was further compounded by numerous hoax calls. In 1991 the
force dealt with 1,683 hoax calls and 1,391 suspect items. BTP
continues to liaise with the security services to ensure that the
railways are safe.
The opening of the Channel Tunnel saw a dedicated group of officers
policing the international link to the continent. During the 1998
World Cup a British Transport Police station was opened at Lille
railway station in France.
Train accidents at Southall, Paddington, Hatfield, Potters Bar and
Selby in Yorkshire again thrust BTP’s work into the public arena.
Officers worked long hours both on the sites of the accidents and
in the aftermath with the long and complex investigations. The work
of the force was acknowledged by, amongst others, Her Majesty the
Queen and the Home Secretary.
To assist with the increasing pressure on the force, special
constables were re-introduced to the force in 2004, and 2005’s
intake of officers was the largest to date.
In 2005, BTP faced one of its biggest post-war challenges, when
suicide bombers targeted London’s transport network on 7
July. 52 people died and 700 were injured when bombs were
detonated on Underground trains near Edgware Road, Kings Cross and
Aldgate and a bus near Tavistock Square.
Two weeks later, BTP officers and other emergency services
responded as the Underground service was again targeted. Smoke at
Oval Station, Warren Street and Shepherd’s Bush was reported as
devices were only partially detonated.
A new home for force headquarters
As 2005 drew to a close, BTP moved their force headquarters from
Tavistock Place to a new site in Camden. The new building boasted a
third more square-footage and could house 350 officers and
In early 2006, BTP officers were granted the power to issue
Penalty Notices for Disorder, bringing BTP in line with all Home
Office forces in England and Wales. The notices enable officers to
deal with low-level anti-social and nuisance offending.
As summer approached, 28 of our officers travelled to Germany to
support German police during the World Cup. The officers policed
England fans to and from games as they made their way to grounds
all over Germany.
In October, BTP appointed Ellie Bird as Superintendent
Operations on London Underground Area. She is the first
woman to have reached that substantive rank in 180 year history of
February 2007 saw BTP add the Glasgow Subway to its
jurisdiction, as officers embarked on an initial two-month trial
with the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.
As our Neighbourhood Policing plan got in to full swing, London
Mayor Boris Johnson launched 30 teams charged with policing London
Underground and its stations. Neighbourhood Policing teams are
based around the country, looking after major stations and dealing
with local community issues.
And 2009 saw a change at the top, as Andrew Trotter took over
from outgoing Chief Constable Ian Johnston. The new chief constable
took over the role determined to re-emphasise BTP’s role in
protecting passengers, railway staff and the railway itself.
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