Transit police (also known as transport police, railway police, railroad police and several other terms) are specialized police agencies employed either by a common carrier (a transit district, railway, railroad, bus line, or any other mass transit provider) or a municipality, county, district, or state. Transit law enforcement services may also be provided by a specialized unit within a larger local law enforcement agency. Their mandate is to prevent and investigate all crime committed against the carrier or its passengers, as well as crime incidentally committed on – and sometimes around – the carrier's property.
A transit police force may consist of officers employed directly by a transit system or by a government agency dedicated to providing specialized law enforcement services. There are numerous instances of both within United States, given the decentralized nature of US law enforcement; examples of larger, stand-alone agencies within the US include the MBTA Police, BART Police, and the New Jersey Transit Police Department. In the United Kingdom, transit law enforcement is provided by a single, nation-wide agency, the British Transport Police, although other law enforcement agencies may assist with this task. Within India, many transit policing services are conducted by the Government Railway Police.
Other forces may exist as a specialized unit of a local law enforcement agency, such as the United States' Transit Police Services Bureau of the Orange County, California Sheriff's Department (which serves the Orange County Transportation Authority) or the Transit Enforcement Unit of the Phoenix Police Department (assigned to the Phoenix Public Transit Department). Some formerly independent transit police agencies have also been absorbed into (or had their duties assumed by) a larger, local law enforcement agency; Examples include the LACMTA Police's duties being assumed by the LAPD Transit Services Division and the New York City Transit Police being integrated into the NYPD Transit Bureau.
Where the term "transit police" is used for a law enforcement agency or unit working for a railroad/railway, it usually refers to a railroad providing urban mass transit (such as a city-elevated system or subway) as opposed to long-distance rail carriage.
Law enforcement agencies of both cargo railroads and long-haul rail carriers are usually referred to as "railroad police" or "railway police". There is often considerable overlap in transit police and railroad police agencies’ duties. Railroad police agencies, however, have a long history, and were established separate from and prior to most modern transit police agencies. Transit police and railroad police powers may also be legally defined separately; For example, in the United States, many states have separate laws concerning both types of agencies.
However, in modern times, with increasing overlap in duties and the proliferation of extensive mass transit systems, some jurisdictions have opted for a hybrid model of railroad and transit policing. For instance, in the United Kingdom, most of the rail systems, including the London Underground, are policed by the British Transport Police (BTP). The BTP is a full-service, national law enforcement agency, which essentially combined the duties of dozens of now-defunct transit and railway police agencies into a single entity (the BTP has no authority in Northern Ireland, except in emergencies).
Some transit police forces have full policing powers, such as the US' BART Police, SEPTA Transit Police, Metro Transit Police Department, Utah Transit Authority Police Department or the MBTA Police. The UK's British Transport Police, also has full police powers within Great Britain. In some areas, transit police agencies have limited or specific powers, and may be classed as special police or special constables, or peace officers with limited powers, such as Canada's Edmonton Transit Peace Officers. Regardless, transit police services nearly always hold more authority than un-sworn, security guard-only services.
Some of the crimes transit police and railroad police investigate include trespassing on the right-of-way of a railroad, assaults against passengers, tagging of graffiti on railroad rolling stock and buses or bus stops, pickpocketing, ticket fraud, robbery and theft of personal belongings, baggage or freight, and drug dealing at transit stations. They may also engage in random ticket checking hoping to catch and fine ticketless travelers. These controls are usually more frequent in transit systems using an honor-based fare collecting approach.
New South Wales
Other large Canadian transit networks use security officers appointed as special constables or peace officers. As special constables, they typically have full police powers when working on transit property to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada, as well as respective Bylaws. Whilst they carry some police equipment, such as a protective vest, baton, handcuffs and pepper spray, they do not carry a firearm. These officers assist local jurisdiction's police officers in investigations of illegal activity on the transit system.
Cities in China which have rapid transit systems all have their transit police force associated to the local public security bureau. There are no non-governmental police forces, or police institutes under transit authority. National Rail used to have a police force under the Ministry of Railways, but such authority has since been transferred to local police agencies.[when?]
However, the structure of institutions can be vary from city to city. For example, cities like Tianjin and Chengdu might have a joint public transportation force of division level, operates on all the taxis, bus routes, coaches, rapid transit and ferry lines as well as transportation hubs inside city limit; while Chongqing and Xi'an have tighter transit cop brigades focused exclusively on protecting the mass transit lines. Again, all these agencies are supervised by the PSBs of higher level.
The Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS) is a security force, established by the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957 ; enacted by the Indian Parliament for "the better protection and security of railway property".
It has the power to search, arrest, investigate and prosecute, though the ultimate power rests in the hands of the Government Railway Police. The force is under the authority of the Indian Ministry of Railways.
The Government Railway Police (IAST: Sarakārī Rēlvē Pulīs), abbreviated as GRP, is the police force of the Indian Railways. It was established by the Railways Act, 1989, of the Parliament of India. Its duties correspond to those of the District Police in the areas under their jurisdiction, such as patrolling, but only on railway property. It is the parent agency of the Railway Protection Force, and aids and provides assistance to it, whose primary duties are to protect and secure all railway property.
The GRP's responsibility is to observe law and order on all railway property. Officers are recruited from the Indian Police Service. The force is under joint-control of the Indian Ministry of Railways and the police departments of the various state police departments of India
Railway Security Guard : Armed security forces protecting railway system in Poland
Main Directorate of the Transport of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. (Главное Управление на Транспорте Министерства Внутренних Дел.)
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