The Baillieu Liberal Nationals Government’s implementation of a Protective Service Officer (PSO) presence from 6.00pm to last train, at all stations on the Melbourne metropolitan train network, was both successful and broadly welcomed by the community.
But since then, Daniel Andrews has been asleep at the wheel, not expanding on the Liberal Nationals’ achievements, despite clear indications that for Melbourne’s most dangerous stations a full time PSO presence is required.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen agrees PSOs should be deployed at the most trouble-plagued stations at all times: “We know from past studies that a number of these incidents do occur before 6pm when PSOs may not be around.”
A January 2019 Canstar Blue survey of more than 4,400 Australian rail passengers, including 1,362 Melbourne Metro Trains users, found Metro Trains passengers feel the least safe catching the train during the day (16%).
In June, a young girl was allegedly set upon in a violent gang attack as she waited for a train at Southern Cross in broad daylight. Footage of the vicious incident, where the 16-year-old is punched and kicked multiple times, went viral on social media.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Public Transport (Metropolitan), David Davis MP:
“The situation faced by many train commuters is simply intolerable and yet Daniel Andrews continues to sit on his hands.
“Why will it take even more tragic evidence of lawlessness and violence before the Premier finally acts to better protect train travellers?
“It is critical that PSOs are returned to all stations when the COVID emergency is over and we will watch this closely.”
Number of offences from April, 2019 to March, 2020 - Crime Statistics Agency data
Southern Cross - 538
Flinders Street - 533
Dandenong - 301
Sunshine - 266
Frankston - 164
Footscray - 143
Ringwood - 138
Springvale - 123
Broadmeadows - 96
Richmond - 92
Caulfield - 90