The Andrews Labor Government passed new laws late yesterday banning cash payments for scrap metal and giving Protective Services Officers (PSOs) new powers to target anti-social crime across the transport network.
Under the new laws, transit PSO powers have been expanded so they can arrest a person who has breached their parole, conduct searches for illicit drugs, and request names and addresses from people who witness crimes.
PSOs will also be able to respond to incidents in and around the train station they are patrolling.
These reforms are part of the Labor Government’s $2 billion Community Safety Statement, which includes funding for an additional 100 mobile PSOs who will be rolled out across the public transport network.
New regulations will support these mobile teams and will enable PSOs to tackle hotspots and work across the Melbourne transport network – including trams, transport hubs and the bus network.
The new mobile PSO teams will increase the overall flexibility of PSOs to ensure safety for commuters during peak periods, including major events which take place outside of normal PSO hours of duty.
PSOs have issued more than 78,000 infringements since they were first deployed in 2012. They patrol 216 train stations across the state, including four regional stations.
As a part of the same Bill, the Labor Government also today passed landmark new laws banning cash for scrap metal, which will turn the screws on the stolen car trade in Victoria.
Businesses will be banned from making or taking cash payments and possessing or trading an unidentified motor vehicle, and will be required to keep records of all transactions involving scrap metal.
There will be traceable information for every transaction, with businesses facing maximum fines of more than $30,000 if they don’t comply with these new regulations.
Police will also be equipped with greater search powers to allow officers to search second-hand dealers’ business or storage premises without a warrant.
Additionally, the Bill created a new supervising role for Police Custody Officers, further freeing up police time for frontline duties. These Supervisors will lead a team of Police Custody Officers and manage police gaol logistics.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“PSOs are a welcome sight at train stations across Melbourne. These new powers will ensure PSOs are in the best position to protect and serve the community right across the network.”
“Banning cash for scrap metal will undermine the business model of criminals who steal cars. We are closing a loophole that for too long has been exploited by organised crime groups.”