Protective services officers to start at train station

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THE state government has confirmed that protective services officers will start patrolling Bendigo Railway Station this week.

Bendigo and Ballarat will be among the first regional rail stations to receive the officers when they arrive on platforms on Tuesday.

The officers will patrol the train platform, car parks and surrounds from 6pm until the last train every night. They will target violence, property damage and anti-social behaviour.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells and Member for Northern Victoria Amanda Millar visited Bendigo on Monday to announce the official starting date.

“Today’s announcement is a major investment in community safety for regional Victoria and part of the Victorian Coalition government’s commitment to building a better and safer Victoria,” Mr Wells said in a prior statement.

Bendigo passengers called for protective services officers to patrol the station earlier this month after a series of incidents, including a man exposing himself to a woman on the night of April 4.

Patrons welcomed the announcement on Sunday, with nine out of 10 approached by the Bendigo Advertiser responding positively.

Liz Thiesz of Charlton said she regularly dropped her daughter off at the station to travel to university.

"I like the idea," she said. 

"My daughter is sometimes here by herself for 15 or 20 minutes, sometimes with a lot of luggage."

Bendigo's Nam Dinh said the initiative would be good for public safety.

"It might help people feel more confident in public spaces," he said.

Joanne of Kangaroo Flat, who did not want her surname used, said the officers were a waste of money.

"It’s the conductor and platform staff’s job to monitor people coming and going on the trains," she said. "I don’t think it’s necessary here, except for maybe on Friday and Saturday nights."

The Advertiser reported on April 7 that protective services officers would patrol the station from April 28.

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