News, Views and Comments

Welcome to the BTP History Group blog. The latest news and views will be posted here.

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The Queen's Birthday Honours 2022

Congratulations to Keith Jarrett and Barry Boffy on being appointed as Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).

They have been entered into the Honours, Decorations and Medals table.


Keith Jarrett

Former London-based BTP Officer Keith Jarrett, now working as a Communications Officer in BTP’s London control room, was recognised for his work towards increasing diversity and confidence in policing for BTP’s employees and building trust with local communities and ethnic minority groups. He was also commended for his bravery when responding to numerous major incidents during his 28-year career in policing.


Barry Boffy

Former BTP Head of Inclusion & Diversity (and BTPHG member), Barry Boffy, has been recognised for his outstanding commitment and actions in improving policing legitimacy, as well as striving for better representation and understanding of employees from diverse backgrounds and varied communities within the force.


Read about their achievements and work on the BTP website.

Also see Keith Jarrett’s profile, and Barry Boffy’s article on the history of the LGBT+ Support Group

BTP equips Special Officers with Tasers

Officers deployed with Tasers.

A piece of history this week.

British Transport Police  are the first police force in the UK to deploy special constabulary officers (“Specials”) in England and Wales with Taser devices.

On Friday 27 May, some BTP Specials were on duty across the country carrying Taser to further assist them in keeping the public, rail staff and themselves safe. The rollout comes as the force responds to risks around terrorism, public safety and public order offences across the railway. The first cohort of 22 Specials have all successfully completed a three-day training course on the device’s use alongside Police Constables.

Special Chief Officer (and BTPHG member), Ben Clifford, said: “I’m delighted that we are able to be the first force in the country to operationally deploy Specials equipped with Taser. Our Specials are exposed to the exact same risks as regular officers and are a vital part of our frontline workforce. Allowing them to carry the device is a positive step both in recognising the skills and competence of our part-time, volunteer officers and further strengthens our commitment to ensuring the railway is a safe environment for passengers and rail workers.

“We regularly deal with incidents a considerable distance from back-up in remote locations, and Taser has a critical place in protecting the public and officers as a less lethal device. Around one third of BTP officers are trained to carry Tasers and our Specials have received same comprehensive training as regular officers.”


Source: BTP

H/T to Bill Rogerson for spotting this story.

ZOOM Presentation (2)


Policing the Docks: Cardiff & South Wales


Following on from our first attempt our experiment using ZOOM based presentations will see the next instalment very soon. This will take the form of a PowerPoint presentation followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. The event will last no longer than 65-70 minutes in total.

The next session will be on Wednesday 29th June 2022 at 1900 (BST) by ZOOM. Anybody interested in attending should email: . A couple of days before the event you will be sent a link and instructions on how to join the session. This event is free.

Suggestions for future sessions are welcome.

The next presentation will be:


Our Presenter will be our past Chair, Viv Head. There is nobody who knows more about this subject than Viv. It will be a very interesting session.

We look forward to seeing you.

Phil Trendall

20th Anniversary: Potters Bar Railway Accident

Flowers laid at the Potters bar memorial

Flowers laid at the Potters Bar Memorial, 10.05.2022.


This week saw the 20th anniversary (10th May 2002) of the railway accident at Potters Bar. This horrific incident killed seven people and injured more than 70 others.

BTP officers and staff attended in large numbers. Many of those in attendance were veterans of earlier major incidents and terrorist attacks and many went on to attend further large incidents in the years that followed.

The work of the officers at the scene and during the subsequent investigation received considerable, and well-deserved praise. The liaison with other agencies, including the Hertfordshire Constabulary and Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate was first class.

BTP officers were on scene very quickly. The early declaration of a Major Incident by Hertfordshire meant that everybody was aware of the scale of what had happened. Control of the inner cordon and crime scene was passed to the force very quickly.

Considerable support was given by other forces and by what is now the College of Policing. Sue Maxfield, the force welfare officer, led the arrangements for the welfare of officers. BTP Health and Safety officers and the force/railway chaplains helped as the incident extended over several days. There was extensive involvement with the local community.

Officers in command roles included A/CI Mick Burnham, Insp Paul Hatton, Supt Tony McDonnel, CI John O’Donnel, Ch Supt Peter Hilton, Insp Duncan Manners and Ch Supt David Hatcher and many others. Supt Paul Crowther and DI Alistair Lawson were key figures in the investigation. As always, the BTP POLSAs and search teams did great work, as did those who worked on Family Liaison with the Hertfordshire Constabulary. The Control Room and Scientific Support performed to a very high standard.

Network Rail were convicted of Health and Safety failings nine years later and were fined £3M.

There was a service at a local church on the anniversary: 10th May 2022, The Church of Our Lady and St Vincent, Potters Bar, Herts.

Phil Trendall (Chair)


Many BTP officers were involved in the response to this major incident. The names given above are from the memory of one BTPHG member and represents a fraction of the complete list. We wish to increase our record of these major events. Official histories often miss out, or under represent, the role played by BTP. If you were a serving officer or member of police staff and were involved in any major incident, including Potters Bar, during your service please consider committing your memories to paper. Your accounts of what actually happened on the ground, including what affect it had on you will help future generations understand the work of the BTP in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. We exist to preserve our history and, as we all know, witness evidence is amongst the best there is. Anything you produce can be kept in our archive collections.

A Date for the Diary

On Thursday 13th October 2022 the British Transport Police History Group (BTPHG) will be holding an Open Day at Euston BTP Station.

The day will provide an opportunity for BTPHG Members, members of the Force, invited guests, members and staff of the BTPA and BTP Support Groups to see and hear about the work of our Group.  There will be a display of items of historical interest and a number of presentations.  The Chief Constable will attend during the day.

The event will not be open to the general public and will be a relatively modest affair with displays spread over several rooms.  The Force have been very helpful in allowing this to go ahead and in giving practical support.

Further information about the content of the day and arrangements for registering attendance will be published nearer the time.

Phil Trendall (Chair)

Baedeker Air Raid commemoration

Baedeker Raid commemoration

On Friday 29th April 2022, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate those who died at York Railway Station during the Baedeker Air Raid eighty years ago.

PC Robert Smith and William Milner (Station Foreman) are named on the plaque.

After the unveiling a service involved a speech by the managing director of LNER, a poem read by Inspector Mary-Anne Snowden (BTP York), a biography of those who died was given by John Shaw of the Raids Over York project, and a poem read by Ken Cooke, a Normandy veteran.

The event involved the York Civic Trust, London and North Eastern Railway, and the Raids Over York heritage project.

The Sheriff of York and the Lord Mayor of York were also in attendance.


In 2017, on the 75th anniversary, the History Group held a memorial tribute to PC Robert Smith at his gravesite. The tribute was attended by members of his family.

Robert, aged 64 years, was killed during the early hours of the morning of the 29th April 1942, during the biggest raid by the Luftwaffe carried out on York in World War Two. He was on duty in the police office when it took a direct hit.


BBC Yorkshire also covered the event on their website:
Tributes mark 80th anniversary of York Baedeker raid

Also see the BTPHG Second World War Roll of Honour.

Sources include the Railway Heritage Trust and the York Civic Trust Twitter feeds.
H/T to John Owen and Tony Haigh for spotting this.



The Police Foundation – online seminar

The Police Foundation is organising an online seminar on the topic of police history. It will discuss the nature and impact of police history as a field of study, the relationship between the police service and historical research and the role that historians play in comparable professional fields. It will discuss what can be done to strengthen the role that police history plays in shaping, contextualising and informing public policy discussion on policing, as well as the profession’s own understanding of its role in society.

The event is free. For those interested more information can be found at the link below:

Condemned to repeat it: Why policing should take its own history seriously

The Police Foundation is the only independent think tank focused exclusively on improving policing and developing knowledge and understanding of policing and crime reduction. Its mission is to generate evidence and develop ideas which deliver better policing and a safer society. Producing trusted, impartial research and by working with the police and their partners to create change.

The Police Foundation has been added to our links page.


PW Phyllis Piper, Liverpool Street, LNER, 1941 or 1942?

A new entry for the Policewomen in Pictures gallery today.

A couple of questions arise from this photograph’s description. Firstly, the date is shown as 1942, whereas the article in the LNER magazine (link below) states it was 1941, but as that article was not published until 1943, it could be that either one is correct.

Secondly, she is described as the first railway policewoman in England. This obviously is not true. In the LNER Magazine she describes herself as the first LNER policewoman, which makes more sense. Although there were GER policewomen at Liverpool Street approximately 25 years before that.

H/T to Mike Joyce for finding the photo.

See: My Day’s Work for Miss Piper’s original article,

and Policewomen on the Railways for more detail.

International Women's Day 2022

BTP Women

To mark International Women’s Day for 2022, the BTP issued this group of photos of ‘inspiring, hardworking and dedicated women of BTP‘ on their Twitter account.

Just a reminder that we have our own Policewomen in Pictures gallery.

Learn more about the history of policewomen on the railways here.



And just a reminder that you can keep up to date with new additions to the website on the Website Updates page.

ZOOM Presentation

One of the things the BTPHG want to do is to connect with our members and friends to share the results of the work that we have been doing since 2009. We are therefore going to experiment with a series of ZOOM based presentations. Each one will take the form of a PowerPoint presentation followed by an opportunity for questions and discussion. The event will last no longer than 60 minutes in total.

The first session will be on Wednesday 16th March 2022 at 1900 (GMT) by ZOOM. Anybody interested in attending should email: . A couple of days before the event you will be sent a link and instructions on how to join the session. Numbers will be limited but it is unlikely we will reach our ceiling for the first event! This event is free.

Suggestions for future sessions are welcome.

The first presentation will be:


“A Deed of Savagery, Bloodshed and Death”. 

The Murder of Detective Sergeant Robert Kidd 1895

Robert Kidd, Date Unknown: Credit: Family Photograph

Robert Kidd was a Detective Sergeant in the London North Western Railway Police when he was murdered in Wigan in 1895. His death has been well documented by a number of authors and BTPHG members and new material emerges all the time. Most recently the papers relating to the trial of his attackers have become available in the National Archives. In September 2021 a plaque was unveiled at the British Transport Police Station at Wigan to commemorate the 126th anniversary of the murder. The presentation will outline the background to the murder and explain the investigation and wider impact of the events of that dreadful day. The presenter will be Philip Trendall who originally wrote a paper on the murder in 1995.


We look forward to seeing you.