Armed PSOs on train patrol every night
TWO protective services officers will patrol Bendigo station for the first time from Tuesday night.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said officers would patrol the station from 6pm until the last train every night.
“When people get off the train there is that level of reassurance that the PSOs are here to greet them, and also in addition to that, once the train goes the PSOs can walk rail commuters over to the carparks that are connected to the railway station,” he said.
“So this is a great commitment in law and order and community safety for the people of Bendigo. “
The PSOs will carry guns, but Mr Wells said they would not carry Tasers.
“The Tasers will only be used by fully-trained police officers,” he said.
“If there is an issue then the PSOs will be on the radio and communicating immediately with Bendigo police, and they’ll make the decision about how they deal with a situation like that.
“The aim of this is to provide for community safety.
“Part of that is reassurance, discouraging anti-social behaviour.”
There are no plans to use protective services officers at other stations like Kyneton or Castlemaine.
More than 700 PSOs have been deployed across 108 stations, and a Bendigo is one of four new regional areas to receive the service.
Police Assistant Commissioner Jack Blayney said there was support for PSOs from Melbourne commuters.
“The mere presence of the PSOs here will go a long way to ensuring that when people get off the train here at Bendigo they’ll feel they’re in a safe environment and through that they’ll have a lot more confidence to go about the way they go about their lives,” he said.
But local opposition members Jacinta Allan and Maree Edwards said it had taken a long time for the officers to be deployed.
“During that time we’ve seen overall crime rates increase in Bendigo every year,” Ms Allan said.
Ms Edwards said she was skeptical of the announcement ahead of the election.