Specialist units

Our national force is split into various units, who all work together to ensure that the UK’s railways are safe and secure.

Scientific Support Unit (SSU)

Scientific Support Unit

The Scientific Support Unit (SSU) has responsibility for recovery, collection and submission of items for forensic examination and identification.

SSU comprises of several departments who provide specialist advice and guidance to officers at all levels on forensic matters.

Policing at Heights teams

The Policing at Heights teams were set up to undertake a range of tasks including searching at heights, protester removal and flash advertising removal.

BTP previously only had a Policing at Heights team based in London, however a north-based team was set up after the environmental protest at Drax power station.

Our Policing at Heights team were out training in Yorkshire recently in preparation for the London Olympics. You can see pictures at the BTP Flickr account.

Territorial Policing and Support Unit

The Territorial Policing and Support Unit (TPSU) oversees local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), Railway Safety Accreditation Scheme and Special Constabulary.

Find out more about your local BTP team.

Hi-Tech Crime Unit

The Hi-Tech Crime Unit (HTCU) is responsible for retrieving electronic evidence from digital devices, such as computers, mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, satellite navigation, USB devices, digital cameras and gaming consoles.

They will retrieve evidence from digital media for use in court. They also provide technical advice and support to other officers working with digital media.

Force Technical Support Unit

The Force Technical Support Unit (FTSU) provides covert technical equipment and expertise to assist with the prevention and detection of crime or disorder.

The FTSU supports and works in partnership with the Area Technical Support Units (ATSU).

Witness Care Unit

Each Witness Care Officer (WCO) acts as the single point of contact for a victim or witness. They assess the individual needs of a victim or witness and update them or the officer in charge about the progress of the case.

A WCO will also make arrangements for the victim or witness to attend court if they are required to give evidence, and refer them to external organisations if they need more support.

CCTV Intelligence Unit

The CCTV Intelligence Unit was set up in 2005 and went live shortly after the July bombings. It was conceived to monitor the 15 mainline London termini for intelligence-gathering purposes and to assist officers with ongoing operations, live monitoring and pre-planned events.

Find out how we use CCTV here.

Disaster Victim Identification

Since the Potters Bar crash of 2002, a great deal of work has been done in Britain and internationally to improve Disaster Victim Identification (DVI).

Part of BTP's strategy in dealing with body identification after a disaster has been the deployment of a body recovery team. This is made up of officers from different areas who come together when the need arises. They were first deployed in January 2009 to attend to the light aircraft crash at Colwich Junction, Staffordshire.

Public Protection Unit (London North)

The London North Public Protection Unit (PPU) was set up to assist officers to coordinate activities around suicide prevention, child protection, domestic violence prevention, sex offender management and mental health liaison for London North area.

Public Protection Unit (London Underground)

The London Underground Public Protection Unit (PPU) consists of the Sexual Offences Unit and the Workplace Violence Unit.

  • Sexual Offences Unit - investigate incidents of sexual assault or some cases of Outraging Public Decency on the Underground. 
  • Workplace Violence Unit - have specialist knowledge of Honour Based Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking offences and the DASH Risk Assessment Model. They will collect statements, provide stills and storyboards from CCTV for LU staff crime.

Economic Crime Unit

The Economic Crime Unit is made up of three specialist units who deal with different aspects of financial crime across the force:

  • Commercial Fraud Squad, who deal with major fraud and corruption investigations.
  • Financial Investigations Unit, who are responsible for restraints, confiscation and investigations.
  • Credit Card Unit, who aid investigations involving payment card fraud.

Wildlife Crime Officers

We now have several officers who have been trained as Wildlife Crime Officers (WCOs) to help protect wild animals and plants surrounding the railway. WCOs undertake this role alongside their normal duties and use their specialist knowledge to support other units.

We have also found links between wildlife/rural crime and other criminality, including metal theft: addressing these crimes together has proved successful for both the railway industry and the environment.

For more information on wildlife crime, please visit the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit and the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW) websites.

To report any concerns or issues of wildlife on the railways call 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016.