BTP, Roseanna and NBMBritish Transport Police (BTP) will become the first police force to be recognised by the country’s leading anti-bigotry charity for its efforts in tackling sectarianism.

Officers from the national police force for the railways will be presented with Nil by Mouth’s ‘Champions for Change’ award by the Scottish Government’s minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, Roseanna Cunningham, at a ceremony at Perth railway station tomorrow, Wednesday, 17 October 2012.

Chief Superintendent Ellie Bird, area commander for the Scotland area of BTP, said:

“Sectarianism has no place in a modern tolerant society and certainly not on the rail network. The award from Nil by Mouth is a real accolade and testament to the hard work undertaken by our officers. I am proud to accept it on their behalf and equally grateful to Nil by Mouth for delivering a meaningful training package which has been well-received by officers and staff which certainly equips them with the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with anyone indulging in such unsavoury behaviour.”

BTP’s award recognises a number of initiatives including:

a commitment to ridding Scotland’s rail network of sectarianism as part of its national policing strategy
every Scottish officer undertaking extensive sectarian awareness workshops including advice on songs, words and phrases which may breach legislation
the provision of over 500 hours of dedicated staff training on the issue
a series of high profile appeals regarding sectarian incidents on trains
adopting an anti-sectarianism policy covering all BTP staff.

Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham said:

“I am delighted to be presenting this award today to recognise the great work BTP is doing to provide anti-sectarianism training to their officers and support staff.

“The Scottish Government is committed to working with partners to tackle sectarianism. I welcome the fact that Nil by Mouth has recognised the achievements of the force as we know that sectarian behaviour can often take place on public transport with fans travelling to and from matches.”

Nil By Mouth Campaign Director, Dave Scott said:

“We have been hugely impressed by the commitment shown by BTP and this award is richly deserved. Our partnership has also given us a better understanding of the challenges officers face when they are called to deal with sectarian incidents and we’d urge the public to support the police when these occur.”