The Napthine Government continues to deliver on its commitment to make rail stations safer with Protective Services Officers beginning patrols at Balaclava rail station from tomorrow night.
Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services and Member for Caulfield David Southwick said PSOs would patrol the train platforms, car parks and immediate surrounds.
“PSOs are helping to prevent anti-social behaviour, property damage, violence and alcohol and transport-related crime on our rail network,” Mr Southwick said.
“The Coalition Government is getting on with the job and has this week fulfilled its commitment to recruit, train and deploy 940 PSOs as well as 1,700 additional frontline police.”
Mr Southwick said the milestone achievement was yet another law and order promise delivered – beyond expectations – by the Coalition Government.
“We have exceeded our initial commitment to deliver 940 PSOs, with 950 now patrolling stations, and committed a further 96 to the program,” Mr Southwick said.
“This $863 million investment in police and PSOs represents the single largest law and order recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history.”
PSOs will be deployed to 212 metropolitan rail stations as well as four major regional stations.
“The Napthine Government is committed to improving safety on our rail network. Public safety is paramount, and the government is doing its part to ensure our rail stations are safer,” Mr Southwick said.
“Just as commuters at rail stations that already have PSOs feel safer, I’m sure the people who use Balaclava station will feel safer as well.”
Mr Southwick said PSOs were starting work at Balaclava and six other stations this week.
“PSOs are also being deployed to Malvern, Kananook, Ruthven, Middle Brighton, Middle Footscray and Patterson stations from 6pm to after the last train every night,” Mr Southwick said.
After this week’s deployment Victoria will have 950 PSOs patrolling 170 stations.
“An independent survey of train passengers shows the presence of PSOs makes them feel safer at rail stations,” Mr Southwick said.
“Overall what this survey clearly says is that people now feel that rail stations are safer places at night thanks to the introduction of PSOs.”
Night-time train users gave PSOs almost universal approval with 94 per cent agreeing that PSOs are a good idea and 93 per cent stating that they would seek their help if they felt unsafe.
“Awareness of PSOs has also increased, with 94 per cent of night-time train users reported having seen PSOs on patrol, and those commuters who knew PSOs patrolled their station felt safer,” Mr Southwick said.
PSOs complete a 12-week course that includes the same operational tactics and safety training undertaken by Victoria Police officers.
Newly-graduated PSOs are mentored by experienced PSOs at city loop rail stations for three months.
“Since deployments began in February 2012, PSOs have issued more than 34,000 infringement notices for offences including being drunk, engaging in disorderly behaviour, carrying weapons and graffiti,” Mr Southwick said.
“Of these, more than 1,900 infringements were for drunkenness offences, with more than 4,000 involving ticketing offences and more than 25,000 transport offences.”