Reports today that the Andrews Labor Government is planning to expand the role of Protective Service Officers (PSOs) beyond the public transport network is a potential threat to the safety of commuters and the success of Victoria’s PSO program in keeping train stations safe.
This proposal for a permanent expansion of the PSO role comes as 160 PSOs have been removed from the public transport network in response to COVID-19, leaving only 83 of Melbourne’s 212 train stations currently patrolled by a PSO team each night.
PSOs have performed an outstanding job in supporting Victoria’s policing response during COVID-19. However, any permanent expansion of the role of PSOs must be built upon, not detract from, the existing successful program throughout Victoria’s public transport network.
A failure to promptly return PSOs to all of Melbourne’s platforms will place the safety of the community at risk.
With further easing of restrictions likely over the coming weeks, Victorian commuters deserve a visible policing presence and Daniel Andrews must commit to returning two PSOs to all train stations as soon as possible.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety, David Southwick:
“If Daniel Andrews wants to expand the role of PSOs, he must employ more rather than removing them from train stations and compromise the safety of commuters.
“With more Victorians than any other state not feeling safe on public transport at night, it is essential every redeployed PSO be returned to regular duties as soon as possible.”