TSSA calls on SNP not to scrap transport police after terrorists threaten attack
RAIL unions demanded urgent action yesterday after Islamist extremists threatened to attack Britain’s rail network.
The threat appears in the latest copy of al-Qaida’s online magazine Inspire and gives detailed instructions on how to derail trains.
It calls for jihadists to launch a campaign of terror across Western transport systems this summer, advising them to target trains which “are always crowded.”
Rail union TSSA demanded an urgent intervention by Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to stop the break-up of the British Transport Police (BTP) in the wake of the terror threat.
The rail union warned that restructuring plans — which will see BTP merge with Police Scotland — would remove safety-critical staff leaving Britain’s railways more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
Almost 10,000 people have signed a TSSA petition calling to scrap the merger which is also opposed by the BTP, the BTP Federation, passenger groups and the companies operating across Scotland’s rail network.
TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes accused Ms Rudd and Mr Grayling of standing idly by while the SNP dismantle the BTP, which he says is vital to rail safety.
Mr Cortes continued: “News that al-Qaida is targeting rail must be treated seriously and it must shake our politicians out of their rail safety complacency. “The Tories and the SNP must now save the BTP from break-up, order a thorough and fast security review of rail safety procedures involving all stakeholders so we work together to do all we can to minimise the public’s risk from this potential harm.” The union leader warned that transport networks have been vulnerable to terrorist attacks since the tragic events of July 7 when a series of coordinated bombings targeted civilians on London Tubes and a bus killing 52 people. “While we can’t guarantee that we will stop every attack, we do need to do everything we can in the face of this threat to minimise risk,” he said. The union also pointed out that plans to remove safetycritical guards from trains could heighten the risk to passengers. Many British rail franchises are currently embroiled in industrial disputes over their refusal to back down from plans to implement driver-only operations across their networks.