Protective Service Officers on suburban stations (PSOs)

 
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
In the last couple of months I have had occasion to travel during the evening to/from several stations local to my area.

I don't know who chooses the PSOs but the dozen or so with whom I have come in contact with have been, without exception, pleasant and helpful. Two even walked our daughter to the bus stop outside the station and kept an eye on her well being until the bus arrived.

Well done PSOs! Smile

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  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
In the last couple of months I have had occasion to travel during the evening to/from several stations local to my area.

I don't know who chooses the PSOs but the dozen or so with whom I have come in contact with have been, without exception, pleasant and helpful. Two even walked our daughter to the bus stop outside the station and kept an eye on her well being until the bus arrived.

Well done PSOs! Smile
So they should be too, they seem to have sod all else to do! Three times in the last month I have been on evening peak services from Southern Cross to Victoria Park that have been stopped due to a "police request". PSOs standing around doing nothing the whole time while various police run around looking for something or another that never seems to eventuate.

The night of the State of Origin at the G I was unfortunate enough to need to change trains at Jolimont. Pi$$ed rugby fans heading to the game everywhere, one had a crack at me for no reason and then threw a bottle on the platform, all under the watchful eye of half a dozen PSOs. Not one moved to do anything. I walked up to one group of three (they seem to have grown, I thought they were pairs originally now they seem to be in threes most nights that I travel) and asked why they didn't do anything and they claimed not to have seen anything. Despite a glass bottle being thrown on the platform 5 metres away from them!

I think the PSOs are a horrendous waste of money. Yes, they make a difference to safety but their roles are way too limited, they seemingly are not authorised to do anything except stand around and look powerful.

So we have PSOs, Police and Authorised Officers all with different powers and job descriptions patrolling the network at the same time. A ridiculous outcome.

BG
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
In the last couple of months I have had occasion to travel during the evening to/from several stations local to my area.

I don't know who chooses the PSOs but the dozen or so with whom I have come in contact with have been, without exception, pleasant and helpful. Two even walked our daughter to the bus stop outside the station and kept an eye on her well being until the bus arrived.

Well done PSOs! Smile
So they should be too, they seem to have sod all else to do! Three times in the last month I have been on evening peak services from Southern Cross to Victoria Park that have been stopped due to a "police request". PSOs standing around doing nothing the whole time while various police run around looking for something or another that never seems to eventuate.

The night of the State of Origin at the G I was unfortunate enough to need to change trains at Jolimont. Pi$$ed rugby fans heading to the game everywhere, one had a crack at me for no reason and then threw a bottle on the platform, all under the watchful eye of half a dozen PSOs. Not one moved to do anything. I walked up to one group of three (they seem to have grown, I thought they were pairs originally now they seem to be in threes most nights that I travel) and asked why they didn't do anything and they claimed not to have seen anything. Despite a glass bottle being thrown on the platform 5 metres away from them!

I think the PSOs are a horrendous waste of money. Yes, they make a difference to safety but their roles are way too limited, they seemingly are not authorised to do anything except stand around and look powerful.

So we have PSOs, Police and Authorised Officers all with different powers and job descriptions patrolling the network at the same time. A ridiculous outcome.

BG
BrentonGolding
Have you had a few too many Ales there, BG? Three posts of the exactly the same thing Wink
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
In the last couple of months I have had occasion to travel during the evening to/from several stations local to my area.

I don't know who chooses the PSOs but the dozen or so with whom I have come in contact with have been, without exception, pleasant and helpful. Two even walked our daughter to the bus stop outside the station and kept an eye on her well being until the bus arrived.

Well done PSOs! Smile
YM-Mundrabilla

Nice to have a good positive account for a change !

Jack I have deleted the two of the three duplicate posts, so all is good !

Regards,
David Head
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Have you had a few too many Ales there, BG? Three posts of the exactly the same thing Wink
Jack Le Lievre
Probably! Fitting really, if I posted in triplicate about something that I think is a triplication of resposibilities!

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Nice to have a good positive account for a change !

Jack I have deleted the two of the three duplicate posts, so all is good !

Regards,
David Head
dthead
Thanks guys, I was on the laptop not the phone and there was nothing untoward going on, I didn't even notice the triplicate posts, sorry and thanks for dealing.

BG
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
In the longer term it will be un-affordable and will have to be wound back; it's not a bad idea in principle but to have them at railway stations unable to leave the immediate area is a bit silly. Better to have them in moving teams as I noticed they do in Perth recently.
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
In the longer term it will be un-affordable and will have to be wound back; it's not a bad idea in principle but to have them at railway stations unable to leave the immediate area is a bit silly. Better to have them in moving teams as I noticed they do in Perth recently.
don_dunstan
I don't know about winding it back. It's good to know that PSO's are patrolling that hot bed of evil - Willison...

Rick
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

In the longer term it will be un-affordable and will have to be wound back; it's not a bad idea in principle but to have them at railway stations unable to leave the immediate area is a bit silly.
don_dunstan


Yes and no, I’d argue: quite a few times I’ve been asked by international visitors whether it’s safe to be out in suburban Melbourne at night and the reaction when I tell them “yes, and there’s police at every railway station if you feel unsafe” is overwhelmingly positive.

Obviously this anecdote doesn’t extend to that hotbed of global tourism, Willison, but it does so some way to demonstrating that the effect on perceived safety is greatest when you have blanket coverage.

People like street cops on the beat; for the same reasons, they like PSOs in predictable places.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
In the longer term it will be un-affordable and will have to be wound back; it's not a bad idea in principle but to have them at railway stations unable to leave the immediate area is a bit silly. Better to have them in moving teams as I noticed they do in Perth recently.
don_dunstan
I know that it is all about demarcation but why can't they check tickets instead of just standing there talking amongst themselves (must get a bit boring the 5th time you hear the same story about the new tree planted in the front yard last weekend) or, yes, do some work around the area between trains.

I would love to know how long a shift is for a PSO too, start / finish times, does one team do the whole shift on a station or are there 2 shifts etc etc etc

BG
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
People like street cops on the beat; for the same reasons, they like PSOs in predictable places.
potatoinmymouth
I'm not arguing that the program doesn't have merit, I'm just saying that having an entire police force dedicated to patrolling railway stations after dark may not be affordable in the long run. There's a revenue crisis descending on NSW and VIC now that the real estate boom is officially over; they will need to look for things to cut sooner rather than later.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Many of the problems and anti social behaviour occur on the trains, not just around stations, so the PSOs should have a presence on the trains, not just patrolling stations.  Obviously they cannot be on every train at night, but an element of unpredictability would help.
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
I know that it is all about demarcation but why can't they check tickets instead of just standing there talking amongst themselves (must get a bit boring the 5th time you hear the same story about the new tree planted in the front yard last weekend) or, yes, do some work around the area between trains.

I would love to know how long a shift is for a PSO too, start / finish times, does one team do the whole shift on a station or are there 2 shifts etc etc etc

BG
Many of the problems and anti social behaviour occur on the trains, not just around stations, so the PSOs should have a presence on the trains, not just patrolling stations.  Obviously they cannot be on every train at night, but an element of unpredictability would help.
Lad_Porter
So, talking with a number of different PSOs during the MICF, their shifts are for Twelve Hours normally 17:00-05:00, and they can spend a whole shift at one station, but also do have a rotating station pattern where they start their shift at one station where a pair or more depending on the station size e.g. Spencer St has more PSOs than West Footscray, and they then move out or in by train to the next station i.e. Start shift at Sunbury, spend an hour there, then hop on a City bound Service and get off at Diggers Rest, spend some time there, jump on the next City bound service, get off at Watergardens and do the same thing all the way into the City, and then back out or in.

They normally work for Four Nights then have Two off, then Four Nights over a 30 Night period, then have a week off, and then start again.
  Lockie91 Chief Train Controller

They do come in handy. Just this evening on a peak hour Craigieburn service there was a teenager who wasn’t quite in this world. Almost passed out in the aisle, a passenger waved at them at Essendon and they jumped on the train and took the kid out on to the platform.

As someone who catches late night trains, it is reassuring knowing that they are around when you are getting off a 11pm service.

But I do imagine they spend a fair bit of time doing very little.
  N463 Locomotive Driver

I know that it is all about demarcation but why can't they check tickets
BrentonGolding
At Bendigo, I have seen the PSO's getting stuck into bus passengers (the suburban bus interchange is at the front of the station) for not having touched on. On one occasion they made one of the freeloaders get off and walk.


I'm not arguing that the program doesn't have merit, I'm just saying that having an entire police force dedicated to patrolling railway stations after dark may not be affordable in the long run. There's a revenue crisis descending on NSW and VIC now that the real estate boom is officially over; they will need to look for things to cut sooner rather than later.
don_dunstan
Has the times that the PSO's operate been extended recently? PSO's now seem to be around by late morning, where as previously they didn't start until late afternoon.

N463
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
I think don_dunstan may have a point about resourcing and affordability.  At present we have the AOs, whose main function is checking tickets, and the PSOs, whose main function is law and order but who do not apparently check tickets.  In addition, we sometimes see real police on the trains.  Some degree of integration and task sharing between these different forces may become inevitable.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Has the times that the PSO's operate been extended recently? PSO's now seem to be around by late morning, where as previously they didn't start until late afternoon.

N463
N463
I believe some of the larger interchanges have PSO's most times during the day; pretty sure you can always find them at North Melbourne for example. I'm no longer a Melbourne resident but I still notice these things when I go back.
  drunkill Junior Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Should have re-built (smaller) police stations at Carnegie or Murrumbeena. As well as some other rebuilt stations arond Melbourne.

Used to be a copshop across the road from Murrumbeena and one right outside the entrance to platform 3 at glenhuntly, now the closest cop shop is at Caulfield town hall.

2 cells, 2 police car spots and 4 staff, integrated with the station buildings.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

A PLAN to roll out protective services officers on trains from September 2 is under threat because a union fears the move could threaten ticket inspector jobs.

Rail Tram and Bus Union secretary Luba Grigorovitch told the Herald Sun Victoria Police and the state government were yet to talk to the union about the planned introduction of PSOs.

“We are waiting for them to consult with us,” Ms Grigorovitch said. “Authorised officers travel on trains and provide safety, security and network knowledge to passengers … PSOs have no jurisdiction on trains.

“The initial rollout for PSOs were for deployment of them at stations from 6pm until last train, full stop.” Ms Grigorovitch said allowing PSOs to conduct patrols on trains would affect both authorised officers and drivers.

“If Victoria Police want PSOs to be able to travel on trains, then they need to go through a proper consultation process,” she said.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he hoped the issue could be resolved quickly.

He also said he believed the union had been consulted.

“We have got PSOs trained and ready to go,” Mr Ashton told 3AW. “We are keen to do that and so are the PSOs, who are keen to provide better service to the community.

“Being on the trains enables them to deal with more crime.

“It is in addition to the PSOs on the platforms.” Mr Ashton said he was keen to assure the union it was not about taking jobs away from ticket inspectors.

“They are thinking if PSOs are on the trains, they will lose their jobs,” he said.

“That is absolutely not the case. We have no interest whatsoever in PSOs checking tickets. That’s the job of the authorised officers and, in fact, we haven’t got the equipment to do it anyway.

“I’m hoping it will be close to (September 2) if it is not within a few days of it.” In January, police trialled PSOs patrolling tram and train stops during the Australian Open. The trial formed part of the state government’s $2 billion Community Safety Statement — which includes funding for 100 flexible PSOs to target hot spots across the public transport network.
Herald Sun


@bevans - feel free to replace this with an RP news link if/when that occurs.

So there is/was a firm plan to introduce roaming PSOs on the network. Unfortunately the union doesn't like it because they reckon the AOs might be out of a job. (Can't see why - PSOs have no jurisdiction over tickets to the best of my knowledge, and the reality is despite their PR machine that's pretty much the raison d'être of the AOs.)
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

So there is/was a firm plan to introduce roaming PSOs on the network. Unfortunately the union doesn't like it because they reckon the AOs might be out of a job. (Can't see why - PSOs have no jurisdiction over tickets to the best of my knowledge, and the reality is despite their PR machine that's pretty much the raison d'être of the AOs.)
potatoinmymouth
They could go for a similar solution as in Adelaide, where a PSA (equivalent to AO in Melbourne) and a licensed security guard (replace with PSO for the Melbourne context) are rostered together on trains.

No need for demarcation disputes if both are rostered together, working as a team with each having their own responsibilities within that team.
  justarider Deputy Commissioner

Location: Free at last, free at last
So there is/was a firm plan to introduce roaming PSOs on the network. Unfortunately the union doesn't like it because they reckon the AOs might be out of a job. (Can't see why - PSOs have no jurisdiction over tickets to the best of my knowledge, and the reality is despite their PR machine that's pretty much the raison d'être of the AOs.)
They could go for a similar solution as in Adelaide, where a PSA (equivalent to AO in Melbourne) and a licensed security guard (replace with PSO for the Melbourne context) are rostered together on trains.

No need for demarcation disputes if both are rostered together, working as a team with each having their own responsibilities within that team.
justapassenger
but, but, but !!!  this is Victoria. no room for good sense here.

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