Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Police Peter Ryan
New Powers For PSOs To Protect Travelling Public
Victor P Taffa
New laws introduced into Parliament this week will make travelling on public transport at night safer under the Victorian Coalition Government’s promise to deploy 940 Protective Services Officers (PSOs) on all metropolitan and major regional train stations from 6 pm until the last train, every day of the year.
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Peter Ryan said the Justice Legislation Amendment (Protective Services Officers) Bill 2011 would give PSOs the powers they needed to reduce crime, violence and anti-social behaviour in and around train stations.
“The Coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to stop crime in its tracks with the introduction of a comprehensive bill to enhance safety on the rail network.” Mr. Ryan said.
“As part of these critical reforms, Victoria Police are proposing to extend the training for PSOs deployed to the rail network from the existing nine week program to 12 weeks.”
“The extended 12 week training program will include ‘on the job’ training at inner city rail stations to strengthen the skills of PSOs.”
Mr. Ryan said PSOs would 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.
“PSOs won’t have all the powers police have but this bill will ensure they are able to curb crime, violence and anti-social behaviour by having the power to apprehend, detain, arrest, remove or impede any offenders or threatening individuals.” Mr. Ryan said.
Mr. Ryan said the deployment of PSOs would 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.” Mr. Ryan said.
The Coalition Government is providing $212 Million to recruit and train 940 PSOs by November 2014.
A recruitment drive to attract people to fill the new positions will begin following passage of the bill through Parliament.