THERE will be more police and protective services officers out in force across Bendigo's public transport network to address a rise in anti-social behaviour.
The four-week police operation started on January 3 and will focus on locations like Hargraves Mall, the Bendigo Railway Station, and bus routes to White Hills, Kangaroo Flat, and Eaglehawk.
Bendigo Acting Sergeant Jordan Norris said the operation would target offences ranging from fare evasion and graffiti, to robberies and serious assaults.
"In recent times there has been increased issues relating to anti-social behaviour," Acting Sergeant Norris said.
"It relates to alcohol consumption, some assaults, and just general bad behaviour by some youth offenders and general community members.
"We will patrol in and around the city's public transport network to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the network."
Christian's Bus Company owner Glenn Christian welcomed the Bendigo police operation.
"Feedback from our drivers is that it has been extremely well-received," Mr Christian said. "Everyone is just so pleased to have the support of Victoria Police and extra PSOs.
"(Receiving abuse) is just part of the climate at the moment. We're dealing with it the same as everyone else is.
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"Bus drivers are the front line. They have been turning up daily now for 18 months so everyone is facing the same uncertainty and confusion. We're all dealing with it the best way we can."
Acting Sergeant Norris said bus drivers and other people had a right to feel safe and comfortable.
"Bus drivers go to work and their sole responsibility is to transport people in a safe manner," he said.
"They don't want to come to work and be exposed to these types of behaviours and then have to deal with it and feel threatened themselves.
"Other members of the community are the same. They just want to go about their business and have reliable means of transport where they're safe."
The acting sergeant said police and authorised officers had the power to charge and fine people who offended.
Acting Sergeant Norris said anyone who witnessed bad behaviour should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au
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