Travelling on public transport at night will be safer under the Victorian Coalition Government’s promise to deploy 940 Protective Services Officers (PSOs) on all metropolitan and major regional train stations from 6pm until the last train, every day of the year, said member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull.
“The new laws being introduced into the Victorian Parliament this week will make travel much safer for those from the country visiting the city.
“The PSO’s will be present at Traralgon, other major regional townships and metropolitan stations, so those from the country can be sure they will be safer when heading to the city.
“I am aware many country folk have at times felt on edge when travelling the public transport system at night and this will assist with the removal of anti-social behaviour.
“Only recently I was approached about a group of youths using inappropriate language on the ‘Gippslander’ on the trip from Melbourne. In future these people will be held accountable for their actions.
“I used this very example in a meeting with the Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and he said where there is a reasonable belief of inappropriate behaviour and if the PSO witnesses this, or is approached by passengers complaining, action can be taken.
“Although PSOs won’t have all the powers police have, this legislation will ensure they are able to assist Victorian Police by having the power to apprehend, detain, arrest, remove or impede any offenders or threatening individuals,” Mr Bull said.
“This is part of the Coalition commitment to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour and is one of a number of measures this government has already taken along this path.”
“By providing $212 million to recruit and train 940 PSOs by November 2014, the Protective Services Officers Bill 2011 will give PSOs the powers they need to reduce crime, violence and anti-social behaviour in and around train stations.
“People from East Gippsland have the right to feel safe not only when travelling on regional rail services, but also when boarding or alighting at metropolitan stations,” Mr Bull said.
“PSOs will continue to undertake the same Operational Tactics and Safety (OTS) training as police, which included the same firearms training and defensive skills training, and that refresher OTS training would be required every six months.”
Minister for Police & Emergency Services, Peter Ryan, said “the deployment of PSOs will be determined by Police Command in consultation with the Department of Justice, the Department of Transport and the Coalition Government.”
“Victoria Police will be able to take into consideration operational requirements and, in consultation with relevant authorities, deploy two PSOs to each railway station across the metropolitan area and at major regional centres.”