Melbourne AU Oct 30 2016 Protective Service Officers should ride the trains and not just patrol station platforms to help combat crime, the Public Transport Users Association has said.
Spokesman Daniel Bowen said the current PSO operations could be improved if “PSOs could patrol the trains as well as the stations”.
“There are a lot of PSOs and they should be patrolling where they are needed to best fight crime,” Mr Bowen said.
He spoke out after a female commuter told a community crime forum increased crime in Melbourne’s southeast had made night time train users feel more unsafe than ever before.
Sue Coburn, who has travelled on the Frankston and Sandringham lines for more than 30 years, said she had never been more terrified on public transport.
Ms Coburn said while PSOs provided safety on platforms, there was no one to help on the trains.
PSOs are driven to their stations each evening rather than taking the trains there.
“It’s good having the PSOs there but there’s no way they can help you on the train when it’s moving,” Ms Coburn said.
“You see people who look angry, could be on drugs or acting irrationally and you’re worried they are going to hurt you so you either get off and catch a cab or you risk it.”
Ms Coburn spoke at a community crime forum in Bentleigh held by Southern Metropolitan state Liberal MP Georgie Crozier.
Ms Crozier said Ms Coburn’s concerns were reflective of a community that was feeling increasingly unsafe.
“There is a concern from the community for people’s safety and the safety of their children; not little kids but young adults — mothers are worried about their children getting home at night,” Ms Crozier said.
Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said Victoria Police’s Transit Safety Division deployed police officers on trains and trams but there were police shortages all over the state and this division was no exception.
Minister for Police Lisa Neville said there were currently PSOs on 211 metropolitan stations from 6pm to last train each night.
She said Victoria Police would “continue to use intelligence to ensure our transit police and PSOs are deployed in the best way across the public transport system”.