Victoria Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells
PSOs Deployed To Bentleigh, Craigieburn And Thomastown
Victor P Taffa
More of Melbourne’s commuters will be safer every night of the week with the deployment of Protective Services Officers (PSOs) to a further three railway stations, Bentleigh, Craigieburn and Thomastown.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells joined Member for Bentleigh Elizabeth Miller to meet the new PSOs as they underwent induction at Bentleigh Railway Station this afternoon.
“We are ahead of our targets for PSO recruitment. By June 30 this year, our aim was to deploy 324 PSOs across the rail network. Today there are 396 PSOs deployed on station platforms that’s an extra 72 PSOs protecting commuters sooner than planned.” Mr. Wells said.
“The safety of commuters is an important priority for the Victorian Coalition Government and it’s pleasing to see another three busy railway stations Bentleigh, Craigieburn and Thomastown now added to the list of PSO deployments across the rail network.”
The PSOs will commence work at these three stations from 6 pm tomorrow, Tuesday 2 July 2013.
“The latest deployment means there are now 396 PSOs patrolling 56 railway stations across the network from 6 pm until after the last train every night.” Mr. Wells said.
Mr. Wells said commuters and small businesses had said the deployment of PSOs had increased safety at railway stations.
“PSOs are making a difference to public safety through their work in calming threatening situations and neutralising conflict, and they are making the community feel safer through the deterrent effect that their presence brings.” Mr. Wells said.
In the first 10 months that PSOs were deployed, they contributed to almost 1,400 arrests. This includes 500 people with outstanding warrants, more than 700 for drunkenness and 64 who were breaching their bail conditions.
Mr. Wells said the Victoria Police PSO recruitment campaign ‘Are you ready to stand out?’ had delivered excellent results.
“Anybody who is considering a career as a PSO is encouraged to visit the Victoria Police website and register for an information session.”
Mr. Wells said the Coalition Government had committed to recruiting and deploying 940 PSOs to the rail network by November 2014 as part of a $212 Million investment.
In the 2013-14 Victorian Budget, the Coalition Government allocated a further $78 Million to upgrade remaining rail stations to support the continued roll-out of PSOs.
“We are ensuring that rail stations across the network are protected from criminal activity and threatening behaviour every night from 6 pm until after the last train.” Mr. Wells said.
“As well as 940 PSOs, an additional 1,700 frontline Police officers will be recruited by November 2014, which represents the largest single law enforcement recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history.”
Mr. Wells said the Coalition Government had made an unprecedented investment in law and order and welcomed the valuable contribution that PSOs were making to enhancing community safety across Victoria.
“PSOs make people using public transport feel safer and commuters who use Bentleigh, Craigieburn and Thomastown railway stations will benefit from their presence.” Mr. Wells said.
PSOs began to patrol nearby Ormond railway station in February and Ms. Miller has been pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to the PSOs at Ormond.
“In speaking to local families I am aware that addressing matters of public safety is a high priority and I am proud the Coalition Government is delivering PSOs for our communities.” Ms. Miller said.
“A Department of Justice and Public Transport Victoria survey last year found 80 % of travellers thought PSOs were a good idea and I have been proud to represent the Bentleigh community and deliver PSOs for the security of commuters.” Ms. Miller said.