Call for day-time officers

SAFE: Bendigo protective services officers Monica Annal and Troy Davies. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

SAFE: Bendigo protective services officers Monica Annal and Troy Davies. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHY

Commuters want more protection

PUBLIC transport users have called for protective services officers to work during the day after an indecent assault occurred at Bendigo Railway Station about 11.30 in the morning.

The officers, who started in April, have made passengers feel safer at the station and helped curb crime and bad behaviour.

They clock on about 4.30pm and work until the last train at night.

Readers questioned why the officers were not present when a 24-year-old woman was indecently assaulted before noon on Wednesday.

Several people have commented on a Bendigo Advertiser Facebook post, suggesting the officers also work during the day.

"Maybe we should start considering having the PSOs there for the early trains in the morning," a reader wrote.

"Maybe they should be reconsidering doing day and night," another wrote.

Bendigo Senior Sergeant John Dalton said most assaults at the station occurred from about 4pm onwards.

"The PSOs are doing a terrific job attending to those matters," he said.

Senior Sergeant Dalton expects Bendigo to receive more protective services offices but was unsure when.

"We envisage getting more PSOs and then they will be resourced during the day," he said.

We envisage getting more PSOs and then they will be resourced during the day. - John Dalton

"It would be wonderful to be able to have PSOs there all day and all night."

The officers started at Bendigo Railway Station on April 29 after a after a series of incidents, including a man exposing himself to a woman on the night of April 4.

Senior Sergeant Dalton said commuters and station staff had said they felt safer with the PSOs' presence.

"Our community has the right to be able use our public transport without feeling intimidated, threatened or simply unsafe," he said.

Senior Sergeant Dalton said the officers had also had success engaging with youth at the station.

"Rather than just handing out tickets, they're talking with them and building a good working relationship," he said.

Senior Sergeant Dalton said the PSOs were also able to enforce the station's rules and laws.

"Smoking laws have been in effect for some time at the railway station, however it was rarely policed due to policing priorities," he said.

"It is now enforced by the PSOs and those caught smoking in the restricted zones will continued to be fined."

Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells' office did not respond to the Bendigo Advertiser's inquiries about a day-time service.

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