A new suite of laws to give Protective Services Officers (PSOs) new powers to keep commuters safe across the transport network came into force on Sunday as part of Andrews Labor Government’s crackdown on crime.
PSOs already perform a vital public safety and community assurance role. These new powers will boost the ability of PSOs to reduce harm and improve public safety across the network.
The new laws give PSOs the powers to:
- arrest someone who has breached parole or had their parole cancelled
- conduct warrantless searches for drugs of dependence
- request name and addresses from witnesses to indictable offences
- randomly search members of the public as part of a Control of Weapons operation
- issue an infringement notice for someone supplying liquor to a minor
- apprehend a child under an emergency care warrant.
There are more than 1,150 PSOs working across Victoria to deter crime and anti-social behaviour, while helping people feel safe and confident to use public transport. These new powers give them even more capability to keep Victorian commuters safe.
The new powers have been informed by expert advice commissioned from former SA Police Commissioner Mal Hyde. New regulations coming into effect from April will also enable PSOs to work across the entire public transport network.
The Labor Government has funded an additional 100 PSOs over four years to form strike teams with the flexibility to respond and patrol across the public transport network when required.
The 100 new PSOs providing the flexible capability are over and above the current PSO model that Victorians have come to rely upon and which is not changing.
The first 25 of these new PSOs hit the beat earlier this year, working at train and tram stops during the Australian Open and Victorian Grand Prix to help Victorians enjoy these world-class events safely.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville
“These new laws will help PSOs to reduce harm and improve public safety by giving them a more active community safety role where they are already stationed.”
“We are delivering on our promise to give PSOs the powers and the flexibility they need to respond to more incidents across our transport network.”
“We’re recruiting 3,135 new police and 100 new PSOs to prevent crime and keep Victorians safe.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020