The Victorian Liberal Nationals are calling on the State Government to enable the temporary redeployment of PSOs throughout Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since being introduced under the former Liberal Nationals Government, PSOs have made an outstanding contribution to the safety of Victorians and have proven themselves as a critical community safety asset.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19, a number of concerning incidents have occurred at supermarkets and shopping precincts whilst police prepare for spikes in offences such as burglary of commercial properties.
These changing community safety challenges come as reports indicate a 90 per cent fall in public transport usage – meaning more than 1400 PSOs are currently left protecting empty train stations while police resources are stretched across the state.
The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to temporarily expand the role of PSOs to a range of community settings.
Given the essential role PSOs play in keeping commuters safe, this change must be implemented with a clear commitment from the State Government to fully return all PSOs to Victoria’s public transport network once the health crisis has passed.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety, David Southwick:
“PSOs shouldn’t be left babysitting empty train stations while police resources continue to be stretched across the state.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, maintaining community safety must remain a priority and it’s time to get PSOs off the train station and into the community.”