MEMBER for Gembrook Brad Battin welcomed the arrival of Protective Services Officers at Berwick Railway Station, saying they will provide a significant boost for community safety in the area.
Mr Battin said Berwick Railway Station was one of 29 stations which will have protection every night of the week from violence, crime and anti-social behaviour.
“This is great news for local residents, who can now rest assured that a PSO will be patrolling the station from 6pm until after the last train, every day of the week.
“We now have a more than 230 PSOs deployed to the rail network across Melbourne. Feedback from the community since the deployment of PSOs in February has been overwhelmingly positive, with a recent survey of night time train users showing that 80 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that PSOs patrolling railway stations is a good idea.”
Mr Battin said PSOs were ready to take up the challenge of improving public safety after extensive training on and off the job.
“This includes weapons training, conflict resolution, how to deal with vulnerable people and people in a drunk or drug-affected state, plus initial exposure to the job under the supervision of Victorian Transit Police,” Mr Battin said.
“The training course for PSO recruits is 12 weeks long and includes the same level of Operational Tactics and Safety Training as police, including the same firearms and defensive skills training.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said PSOs were already making a big difference on the rail network, making arrests, detecting breaches of bail, identifying outstanding warrants, and issuing infringement notices for a range of offences.
“These officers also help protect others through their powers to detain offenders when their behaviour threatens other members of the public,” Mr Ryan said.
“Most importantly, PSOs make commuters feel safer and make Melbourne’s railway stations a safer place to be at night.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has allocated $212 million to recruit, train and deploy 940 PSOs at every metropolitan train station as well as four major regional centres, every night by November 2014.
“This is about delivering a stronger police presence on our streets, public transport network and in our towns.”