The Andrews Labor Government today announced that Protective Services Officers (PSOs) will be given new powers to target anti-social behaviour and crime, with legislation being introduced into Parliament this week.
PSOs will be given a range of additional powers including the power to arrest a person who has breached their parole, conduct searches for illicit drugs, and request names and addresses from people who witness crime.
PSOs will also be able to respond to incidents in and around the train station they are patrolling.
This forms part of the 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.
The legislation provides for these mobile teams and will enable PSOs to tackle hotspots and move across the Melbourne transport network – including trams, transport hubs and the bus network.
In addition to the 1,300 PSOs who patrol Victorian train stations and major public buildings, 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 been on Victorian train stations since 2012, and have issued 75,000 infringements. They patrol 216 train stations across the state, including 4 regional stations. They also provide security for the Night Network.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“These measures will ensure that PSOs have the appropriate powers, are in the right places, and working at the right time, to respond to crime hotspots across Melbourne’s public transport network.”
“PSOs are a valued presence at Victorian train stations. As promised in our record $2 billion Community Safety Statement, we are boosting PSO powers so they can ensure Victorians feel safe travelling on public transport.”
“We are doing everything we can to make Victorians safer as they go about their lives. This legislation expands the powers of PSOs as well ensuring more sworn Police officers can be on the frontline, due to the new Supervising PCO role.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020