Q684: Do British Transport Police officers have the same powers as other police officers?
British Transport Police's (BTP) officers are recruited and trained in the same way as local police officers. They have all the same powers of a Constable. BTP's responsibility is for the railways, including some tram systems and jurisdiction is usually defined as 'on the railways (including tram systems) or for any purpose to do with the railways'. For instance, officers might arrest a robbery suspect or carry out a house search - then they have jurisdiction anywhere.
If it is not a railway related matter – for instance if they come across a robbery in the street, then the following applies,
BTP officers have the powers and privileges of a Constable beyond their normal jurisdiction in three specific circumstances:
- when asked for assistance by a Constable from local police, Ministry of Defence Police or the Civil Nuclear Constabulary
- if they believe that someone has committed, is committing or is about to commit an offence, and waiting for a local officer would frustrate the interests of justice
- to save life or prevent injury.
In such circumstances, where their assistance has not been requested by the local force, the officer will need to decide whether their immediate intervention is necessary.