18 April 2016: Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that the fifth principle contained in the report of the Smith Commission that the package of powers agreed through the Smith Commission process “should not cause detriment to the UK as a whole nor any of its constituent parts” will be complied with when railway policing is devolved.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scotland Office (Lord Dunlop):
My Lords, the Scotland Act devolves responsibility to the Scottish Parliament for the policing of railways in Scotland, and we are working with the Scottish Government to understand their plans. Maintaining high levels of service across the UK is at the forefront of our planning for an efficient and effective transfer of functions. There is absolutely no reason to think that devolution will degrade the level and effectiveness of railway policing.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester:
My Lords, that is all very well but this is a Question about the no-detriment principle in the Smith commission report. The British Transport Police Authority made it clear in its evidence to the Public Audit Committee of the Scottish Parliament that the safety and security of railway policing in England and Wales could be endangered and its costs increased if that force no longer had a role in Scotland. Surely there can be no greater example of a no-detriment principle applying than that one. Particularly bearing in mind what the noble Lord, Lord Dunlop said at the Report stage of the Scotland Bill when he shared with us the news that the Conservative Party, in its manifesto for the Scottish elections, had decided that the BTP should continue to police the railways in Scotland after those elections, surely he could be a little more forthright in standing up for the no-detriment principle.
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