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Author Topic: Articles: Safety Security issues  (Read 32954 times)

Online ozbob

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Articles: Safety Security issues
« on: July 22, 2010, 02:55:52 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Police commissioner Simon Overland promises blitz on station violence

Quote
Police commissioner Simon Overland promises blitz on station violence

    * Amelia Harris
    * From: Herald Sun
    * July 21, 2010 11:54AM

POLICE will take over train lines one by one in an attempt to curb violence and anti-social behaviour.

Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said police had gathered information about problem lines and stations in the past few months and were ready to target them.

"In the next couple of weeks, I’m not going to say exactly when, we’ve got some very, very, big operations planned where we’re going to, in effect, take over whole lines so they’ll be saturation operations on major train lines across the metropolitan area,’’ Chief Commissioner Overland said.

"We have been (monitoring problem lines) for months and we haven’t been talking about it, but we think now is the time to start talking about it because it’s also about getting the message out to the broader public about what we’re doing.

"We won’t necessarily be warning people where we’re doing this, when we’re doing this. It’ll just happen.’’

More than 200 uniformed and plain clothed police will be involved in the first blitz.

Dandenong, Ringwood, Sunshine and Upfield were among Melbourne’s most dangerous train stations named in a leaked report about crime on the rail network last month.

It came after a horrifying attack on a train carriage by a gang of thugs at McKinnon station.

Terrified passengers were left to fend for themselves for several minutes, with no police or Metro staff, while hoons threatened them with broken bottles and threw rocks at the train's windows.

A nursing student from Hobart, Tim Redmond, suffered serious injuries after being hit on the head with a rock after trying to assist another passenger being dragged from the train by the thugs.

A 20-year-old Wonga Park man was also injured last month after he was stomped on at Parliament Station.

Nine people handed themselves in over the brutal assault and have been charged.
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 08:04:30 AM »
Waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people is the answer not more policing of unsafe urban spaces.  Time for new approaches as the old ones have not worked.

Offline #Metro

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 10:02:26 AM »
Quote
Waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people is the answer not more policing of unsafe urban spaces.  Time for new approaches as the old ones have not worked.

I agree. What kind of country would Australia be with police and security outside every single shop, every street corner, every car park, every bus stop, every park? And how unbelievably expensive would that be?
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Online ozbob

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 08:51:18 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Station staff do not deter thugs

Quote
Station staff do not deter thugs
Deborah Gough
August 22, 2010

MORE than three-quarters of all reported attacks at Melbourne train stations occur at staffed facilities, with a quarter of violent assaults carried out by gangs or groups of thugs.

The latest figures from the government body responsible for public transport safety also show that of the 583 assaults reported across the network in 2009, more than a quarter were attacks on rail staff and ticket inspectors.

The Transport Safety Victoria figures, obtained by The Sunday Age under freedom-of-information laws, show that assaults on rail staff included punching, kicking, shoving, spitting and, in two of the most disturbing cases, the attempted strangulation of ticket inspectors. In several cases the victims required hospital admission or emergency department treatment.

The documents show 385 assaults occurred at train stations and 198 took place on trains.

Only 36 per cent of the network's stations are staffed, but they were the scene of 77 per cent of the reported attacks. Some argue this is largely because assaults that occur at unstaffed stations tend to go unreported.

According to the Transport Safety Victoria figures, Flinders Street Station is the city's most violent, recording 36 attacks, 26 of which were on staff. The other most troubled stations were Dandenong (26 assaults), Broadmeadows (21), Footscray (18), St Albans (17), Ringwood (13), Bayswater (11), Frankston (10) and Southern Cross and Thomastown (both nine).

At Broadmeadows, 17 of the 21 assaults were committed by groups. Other gang trouble spots were at Ringwood and Noble Park.

In other serious incidents:

■ A bloodied body was found in toilets at Macleod.

■ A woman was raped on a train.

■ A man was found stabbed at North Richmond station.

■ Two girls were attacked by a topless woman at Caulfield.

■ An inspector was kneed in the ribs and punched in his ear.

■ An inspector was thrown to the ground at Ringwood by a group of angry youths.

■ An elderly Indian man had his beard pulled by youths.

■ A man dressed as a woman was beaten by a group.

■ A Brighton Beach customer attacked a staff member working on the signal box when he could not answer a question.

■ A drunk passenger hurled objects at other commuters at Glenferrie station.

The on-train violence led to more than 344 trains being either delayed or cancelled. On average, 1.7 trains were delayed by 4½ minutes for every assault. One train was cancelled and sent back to a depot empty after a woman was raped on board.

The figures show sex crimes were five times more likely to occur on trains than at stations.

Public Transport Users Association treasurer Kerryn Wilmot called for every station to be staffed, saying that the true incidence of violence on the rail network was much higher than the Transport Safety Victoria figures suggested because many assaults went unreported.

''Presence of staff also deters some incidents from happening in the first place,'' she said.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn called for an extra 600 authorised officers and station staff to patrol in and around stations.

''There simply are not enough staff to go around,'' he said.

Professor of public transport at Monash University, Graham Currie, said even though most people never experienced violent crime on public transport, it was generally perceived as unsafe.

He said Victoria Police figures showed alleged assaults had increased by 23 per cent from 2005-06 to 2008-09 (1152), while patronage was up 32 per cent.

Metro Trains spokesman Chris Whitefield said safety on the network was its top priority and it had already added 94 extra customer service staff to stations.

Twenty-two more stations would be staffed by December, he said.

Ms Wilmot said this would only increase the number of staffed stations to about half the network and there would still be strings of unstaffed stations on many lines.

Mr Whitefield said Metro deployed its 380 authorised officers to identified trouble spots and surveillance cameras had been upgraded. Metro was also trying to improve safety through increasing lighting at and around stations.

''Considering there are more than 4 million passenger trips made each week across the network, the actual number of incidents is minute in relation to the number of people using the system,'' Mr Whitefield said.

The Minister for Public Transport, Martin Pakula, said that, according to the Auditor-General, crimes on public transport now amounted to 33 incidents for every 1 million boarding passengers. ''Any incident on the public transport network is one incident too many and we want passengers to feel safe and to be safe when they travel on public transport,'' Mr Pakula said.

He said the state government was considering introducing a knife-search blitz on public transport.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2010, 08:54:06 AM by ozbob »
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 08:55:13 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Police report reveals train travellers fear they'll be attacked

Quote
Police report reveals train travellers fear they'll be attacked

    * Peter Rolfe
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * August 22, 2010 12:00AM

TRAIN travellers on two of Melbourne's most notorious lines have told police they believe their odds of being attacked, mugged or verbally abused are greater than one in two.

A previously secret Victoria Police report reveals a high number of commuters on the outer-suburban Lilydale and Pakenham lines fear being physically, sexually or verbally assaulted every time they board a train.

The snapshot of Melbourne train travellers, conducted as part of an official police public safety strategy, offers a frightening insight into the fear of passengers on the metropolitan network.

A staggering 76.7 per cent of Lilydale and 77.4 per cent of Pakenham passengers said they were likely to be verbally threatened on the line and more than 50 per cent felt likely to be physically threatened.

Among other findings:

80 per cent of Lilydale passengers and 77.8 per cent of Pakenham commuters said there were constantly drunks on trains;

MORE than 42 per cent of commuters on the lines felt they were likely to be sexually assaulted;

44 per cent of passengers on those lines said they were likely to be robbed;

ALMOST 50 per cent of Lilydale and 42.7 per cent of Pakenham travellers said they were anxious about security at train stations.

The documents, obtained by the Victorian Greens under Freedom of Information laws, show commuters calling for "highly visible security officers", alarm systems for commuters on all platforms and CCTV in every train carriage to improve safety.

On the Lilydale line, 56.2 per cent of people knew of someone who had been verbally abused or threatened during a train journey including 66.7 per cent of respondents aged 36-45.

Twenty per cent of Pakenham line travellers aged 26-35 and 21.4 per cent of commuters aged 46-55 had been physically abused during a train trip.

On a scale of one to 10, passengers rated safety on a train at 7.7 in the morning but 4.02 late at night.

They rated safety on trains with intoxicated passengers at 3.31, 4.55 in carriages with groups of teenagers and 3.45 in poorly lit trains.

Safety at stations with "lots of people" rated 7.48, but safety at a stations with intoxicated people was 3.19.

Sixty per cent of Lilydale passengers said mugging was a problem at train stations on the line.
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 09:27:58 AM »
It's a design problem!
TODs, make stations look decent, fix broken things, get a decent toilet block, landscaping etc.

Don't turn rail stations into something resembling a high-security prison!
It will only make things worse.
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Online ozbob

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 04:16:19 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Tram injuries rising on a fast track

Quote
Tram injuries rising on a fast track
Kate Hagan
August 24, 2010

MORE people are being injured by Melbourne's trams, new research has shown, including passengers falling inside trams and being hit by them as they get on or off.

An eight-year study by emergency doctors at The Alfred hospital has shown that the number of people presenting to emergency departments with tram-related trauma increased from 156 in 2001 to 237 in 2008. Of the total 1769 tram patients seen by emergency departments between 2001 and 2008, most had sustained minor trauma. These involved injuries from falls (808 cases), and also included pedestrians (194) and cyclists (194) being hit by a tram.

A total of 107 patients sustained major trauma, which grew from four cases in 2001 to 14 in 2008.

Most of the major trauma occurred within 10 kilometres of the CBD, and the median age of patients was 37. About 58 per cent were male.

There were 15 tram-related deaths between 2001 and 2008, including nine pedestrians hit by trams, five passengers who fell from trams and one cyclist struck by a tram.

Lead author Dr Biswadev Mitra said emergency doctors conducted the study, published in the journal Emergency Medicine Australasia, because they were seeing more tram-related injuries and wanted to check their observations against data.

He said the findings showed a significant increase in tram-related trauma in Melbourne, even when adjusted for population growth.

''The new-age trams are quieter and faster,'' he said. ''But when pedestrians think about things they can get hit by, they don't put as much importance on trams. Trams are looked at as slow-moving things, rattling along and you'll hear them - but that's very different to what we've got now. They're silent, they're fast and you can get major trauma.''

In the study, Dr Mitra and his colleagues said current safety measures such as raised ''superstops'' seemed to be directed at separating pedestrians from cars, but the focus needed to shift to protecting them from moving trams.

He said authorities should also consider installing more restraints and supports inside trams to prevent people falling over.

A spokesman for Yarra Trams, Jake Hatton, said the operator was working with the Traffic Accident Commission, VicRoads and the RACV on preventive measures and public information campaigns.

He said the report was a reminder to pedestrians to take care when walking near trams, following a number of incidents where people have stepped out in front of them while distracted by mobile phones or listening to music through headphones.

''Pedestrians and motorists should remember that trams can't stop as quickly as cars or swerve to avoid pedestrians or cars that cross in front of them,'' he said.

Mr Hatton said Yarra Trams was considering increasing the number of ''handholds'' on some types of tram. He said that, anecdotally, many falls on trams occurred when people were trying to purchase and validate tickets, but the introduction of myki should make the process quicker.

The number of passenger trips on trams is > 200 million annually.  There is has been a massive increase since 2001, when this is taken into account rate is probably lower.  The fact is people have to take some responsibility for their actions.   Just imagine the trauma rate if there were no trams ...  it would be a lot lot higher ...
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 06:51:48 AM by ozbob »
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 04:22:36 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Research finds accident rise put down to silence of Melbourne trams

Quote
Research finds accident rise put down to silence of Melbourne trams

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * August 24, 2010 12:00AM

TRAM-related accidents have soared in the past decade, with almost 1769 people needing hospital treatment.

Modern trams were potentially more dangerous than ageing vehicles, research has found.

A study by The Alfred hospital emergency doctors, published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, found there were 15 deaths and 107 major trauma cases after tram accidents over eight years. Researchers said injuries became more common between 2001-08. Most injuries happened in the CBD and involved younger people.

Falls were the most common cause of injuries, with two thirds caused by sudden braking.

The leading cause of major injuries was trams hitting pedestrians.

"Older trams were slow moving and could be heard more distinctly," they said. But the newer trams were were quieter, faster and "potentially more dangerous".

The design of new super stops had successfully separated pedestrians from cars, but not enough had been done to separate pedestrians from trams.

"There is little evidence to date of their effectiveness in reducing tram-related injuries," the researchers said, adding that more work needed to be done to prevent falls in and around trams.

"Seat design and supports for standing passengers should be investigated," they said.

Yarra Trams spokesman Jake Hatton said the report was a timely reminder for pedestrians to take care when walking near trams.

"We have unfortunately had pedestrians and cyclists step out in front of trams because they have been distracted by their headphones or mobile phone," Mr Hatton said.

Trams were being repainted with brighter colours, including yellow doors designed to catch the eye of motorists.

Mr Hatton said Yarra Trams was considering putting more hand grips on board.

Quote
"We have unfortunately had pedestrians and cyclists step out in front of trams because they have been distracted by their headphones or mobile phone," Mr Hatton said.

A more appropriate headline would be Research finds accident rise put down to stupidity ..

 ::)
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 04:24:43 AM by ozbob »
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Offline #Metro

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2010, 08:31:25 AM »
Quote

A study by The Alfred hospital emergency doctors, published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, found there were 15 deaths and 107 major trauma cases after tram accidents over eight years. Researchers said injuries became more common between 2001-08. Most injuries happened in the CBD and involved younger people.

And compared to cars?

How can people blame the tram? It is stuck to the rails and rarely travels faster than 20 km/hour in the CBD and inner city areas.
Then there are the people who are completely oblivious to the world, listening to iPod.
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Offline Jonno

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2010, 06:36:01 PM »
Didn't Charles Darwin call this natural selection.  ;D

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 06:51:06 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Armed public transport guards too dangerous says Metro chief Andrew Lezala

Quote
Armed public transport guards too dangerous says Metro chief Andrew Lezala

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * August 30, 2010 12:00AM

METRO has warned of deadly consequences if a state Opposition plan to employ armed guards on railway stations after dark is adopted.

In comments that have provoked a furious response from the Opposition, Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala warned of a repeat of the shooting of an innocent man on a London train in 2005.

The Liberal-National Coalition has promised that armed protective services officers, who work for Victoria Police, would be on every train station from 6pm.

Mr Lezala told the Herald Sun that any extra staff should be Metro employees.

"I am not a huge fan of that, I have to say. They wouldn't work for me," Mr Lezala said.

"I want my passengers to be able to ask staff information and be able to get answers.

"I'd rather have more (authorised officers), because my AOs, they can deal with difficult people, but they also know a lot about the railway and they can help people, and they do help people.

"So, I'm not sure about guards with guns, it didn't work out very well for Menezes in London, did it?"

Jean Charles Menezes, wrongly suspected of being a terrorist, was shot dead by London's Metropolitan Police on July 22, 2005, the day after a failed bomb attack.

Two weeks earlier, 56 people had died as a result of the July 7 bombings on London public transport.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said Mr Lezala was attempting to curry favour with Premier John Brumby.

"Together with John Brumby, he has presided over a situation where innocent Victorians are randomly attacked on the train network," Mr Mulder said.

"The fact that Mr Lezala is trying to equate (the shooting of Menezes) with Coalition policy to make the train system safer with more Victoria Police and PSOs is irresponsible, foolish and unfit for a person in his position."

During an interview with the Herald Sun Mr Lezala said commuters felt anxious at times.

"What I've noticed in Melbourne more than most cities is rowdy behaviour that makes people feel uncomfortable," he said.

"There's quite a lot of intoxicated people around at certain times, and there's quite a lot of youth gangs.

"And they're not hurting anybody, they're just threatening by their existence."

Mr Lezala said more authorised officers, commonly known as ticket inspectors, would make people feel safer.

Mr Lezala said there were 33 incidents for every million journeys, seven of which were crimes against the person.

"As railways around the world go, it's not bad statistically. But that isn't what people feel," he said.
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Offline Golliwog

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2010, 07:24:12 AM »
I would prefer more authorised officers to armed police anyday.
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Offline longboi

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2010, 10:54:56 AM »
Agreed. Police resources need to be focused on real crime, not perceived crime.

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 04:01:11 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Bullies will be found

Quote
Bullies will be found

    * Wes Hosking
    * From: Herald Sun
    * September 03, 2010 12:00AM

A DISABLED train commuter has described his fear as callous young bullies ridiculed him at a train station.

Unable to fight back or speak, Roger endured sickening verbal abuse from three students as he waited to catch a train home from Ringwood railway station on Tuesday afternoon.

The 40-year-old Bayswater man, who lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, cannot detail exactly the words used but, helped to communicate by a support worker, his body moving in distress, Roger told the Herald Sun the students made fun of his disability and called him names.

"It made me feel awful, angry, hurt," Roger said.

"Not part of the community. Different. Sad."

The students, believed to be from Ringwood Secondary College, also switched a control on Roger's wheelchair so he could no longer steer it.

Roger was only just regaining his confidence on public transport after suffering similar earlier attacks.

"Independence is really important," Roger said.

"I'm determined not to let one incident or a couple of incidents stop me from doing what I want to do."

Scope eastern region manager Steve Allen denounced the attack, saying he hoped it would not undermine Roger's confidence. "It takes a lot to get people back on the train sometimes," Mr Allen said.

"We know that Roger, and the other people we help, all love to get out in the community. This can really knock their confidence.

"If this happens often enough people can really lose their faith in the public."

In a statement, Ringwood Secondary College principal Michael Phillips said the school was investigating the incident.

He said the school had also approached police to obtain video evidence of what may have occurred.

"If the school finds there was inappropriate behaviour by any of its students it will take the appropriate action," Mr Phillips said.

Roger said he was determined to make good of the attack and will now speak with Ringwood Secondary students as part of a program to promote understanding of people with a disability.

"I am just another person in the community," he said.

"I just want to be treated the same as other people."

A police spokesman said the case was being investigated.
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Offline Golliwog

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 04:32:15 PM »
Disgusting behaviour! I hope they catch those kids.
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Offline p858snake

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 08:32:36 PM »
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/teen-gang-bash-man-at-malvern-station/story-e6frf7kx-1225913592266

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2010, 04:43:50 AM »
Herald Sun --> Man 'punched in the face' for talking on mobile phone while on train
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2010, 04:29:32 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Police needed at only 10 stations

Quote
Police needed at only 10 stations
Deborah Gough
September 12, 2010

MELBOURNE'S 10 most violent railway stations need a full-time police presence to combat half of all station assaults, the state's key public transport lobby group says.

With almost half of all assaults occurring at just a few stations and 48 per cent of attacks taking place during the day, the group says the state opposition's plan to have every station staffed with two Victoria Police protective services officers after 6pm is overkill and fails to tackle the problem of daytime violence.

In a clear pitch to the government as the state election campaign warms up, the Public Transport Users Association has revealed its own plan for targeting rail-related violence.

The lobby group wants two fully trained police officers - not protective services officers who have limited training and powers of arrest - to be placed at the 10 worst stations during all services, and customer staff to be reintroduced to all stations.

The association's president, Daniel Bowen, said analysis of data obtained by The Sunday Age under freedom of information laws confirmed that assaults were limited to a few stations on the network.

The analysis showed 45 per cent of all reported assaults occurred at Flinders Street, Dandenong, Broadmeadows, Footscray, St Albans, Ringwood, Bayswater, Frankston, Southern Cross and Thomastown stations.

''These figures confirm that rather than a splatter gun of armed officers in every station … fully trained police should be deployed to places where they are needed and not on quiet suburban stations,'' Mr Bowen said.

''I think it [the opposition's plan] is an over-the-top response.

''At most stations [the protective services officers] would be doing nothing all night. They would be twiddling their thumbs.''

The data, from 2009, also showed that of the 385 alleged assaults reported to Transport Safety Victoria, 48 per cent were before 6pm when, under the opposition's proposal, officers would not be on duty.

Mr Bowen pointed out that last year Broadmeadows had 15 daytime assaults and only four at night. At 57 per cent of stations no assaults occurred in 2009.

The association's criticism of the opposition's proposal comes after Metro Trains chief Andrew Lezala's apparent backdown on support for protective services officers.

Opposition spokesman on public transport Terry Mulder said the Public Transport Users Association appeared to be following suit. ''This is significant back-pedalling from the PTUA after a strong endorsement,'' Mr Mulder said.

''A lot of these [hot spot] stations are manned and the staff will not come out from their window in the event of an assault or sexual assault because they are not security staff,'' Mr Mulder said. ''Staff are quite often the subject of these assaults and the only way to reduce that is with a police presence.''
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2010, 02:57:15 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Metro want extra 500 staff in bid to crack down on transport violence

Quote
Metro want extra 500 staff in bid to crack down on transport violence

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * September 15, 2010 12:00AM

METRO wants to hire an extra 500 staff in a bold bid to crack down on violence and hoon behaviour on the railways.

The operator plans to use staff to close off platforms at busy times to control the flow of passengers on to overcrowded trains.

Unstaffed suburban stations are struggling to cope with booming patronage, with passenger numbers at Tottenham station near Footscray doubling in five years.

The plan has been put to the Government, which will need to find tens of millions of dollars a year to finance it.

Metro does not want its staff to carry weapons or handcuffs, in contrast to Opposition plans for armed officers.

A recent review identified several security issues at city stations, raising fears that ticket offices will become targets for armed robbers.

It is believed the extra 500 staff would join 350 authorised officers, commonly known as ticket inspectors.

Metro declined to comment on its plan for extra staff, but spokeswoman Geraldine Mitchell said any additional staff would improve the perception of safety.

"Authorised officers perform a range of roles with customer service at the core," Ms Mitchell said.

This included work at special events, during disruptions and police operations, and after accidents. "Although part of their role, ticket checking is secondary to helping customers and keeping the network safe," she said.

Passenger safety has emerged as a state election issue after a series of bashings.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn said violence at stations was no surprise.

"Our members face this every day - whether it's reporting it when it happens, or being the targets of it," he said.

"The increased number of incidents, the numerous surveys and reports - all point to the need for more authorised officers, station staff and police. The evidence is overwhelming. It's time for action on this issue.

"No more excuses."

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said the need for more staff was obvious.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said his party's policy of 940 armed officers would deliver a safer system than the Metro plan.

Unarmed officers did not get the same level of respect.
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Offline Golliwog

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2010, 09:16:18 AM »
Quote
Unarmed officers did not get the same level of respect.
Do they actually mean respect? Or simply just fear?
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2010, 04:15:38 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Metro boss admits rail fear

Quote
Metro boss admits rail fear
Clay Lucas
October 6, 2010

Andrew Lezala, speaking yesterday at a Melbourne Press Club lunch, said 40 per cent of the people who use Melbourne's railway system felt unsafe ''at certain times of day''.

''I ride the railways a lot and I sometimes feel intimidated. I'm not a particularly shy guy. So I know we have an intimidation issue,'' Mr Lezala said.

''We have a number of issues with youth gangs, with people who are intoxicated and some people who have got some mental issues. I've seen it first-hand.''

He said crime statistics showed there were seven ''crimes against the person'' per million boardings in Melbourne. ''As railways around the world goes, it's fairly average, so it needs to be improved.''

Mr Lezala's consortium, which won the $8 billion contract to run Melbourne's trains last year, in July had $4 million in payments withheld by the government for poor performance.

Eight weeks after that money was withheld, Mr Lezala attacked an opposition plan to put police officers on every railway station in Melbourne after 6pm to reduce crime and improve passengers' perceptions of safety on the train system.

Asked about the $4 million yesterday, Mr Lezala said he believed the government would pay the operator this money ''pretty soon''.

''We are in discussions at the moment about that,'' he said.

The key to improving perceptions of safety on Melbourne's train system was more staff, said Mr Lezala.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said Mr Lezala's comments were ''a further admission that the Coalition's policy is needed''.

He added: ''If Mr Lezala feels intimidated, imagine how a young woman or an elderly couple feel when they see thugs at stations or on trains?''

A spokesman for Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula said the government recognised more needed to be done to tackle safety, and perceptions of safety, on public transport.

Mr Lezala also said that Mr Pakula had rung to congratulate him on Metro last week meeting its performance target for the first time since it replaced Connex, by running more than 88 per cent of trains less than five minutes late.

''The minister did congratulate us the minute he found out we had exceeded the target,'' Mr Lezala said.

But just as Mr Lezala was addressing yesterday's lunch, the Werribee line was suspended for three hours, between 1pm and 4pm, because of a serious signalling fault.

It followed long delays in the morning on the Pakenham, Cranbourne, Hurstbridge and Sandringham lines, due to other signalling and points failures, as well as an ill passenger delaying trains.

Mr Lezala also told the lunch that he did not believe a train line to the airport should be a priority for Melbourne.

''I see the needs for the [metropolitan] rail development really, so any available money, I will argue, should go into that,'' he said.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2010, 05:11:38 PM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Waiting for action

Quote
Waiting for action
Clay Lucas
November 15, 2010

THE late-night train ride for Frankston man Paul Taylor was like something out of a nightmare. Taylor was taking his 12-year-old son home on a packed Friday night train in June, after a St Kilda-Richmond match at Docklands, when the train pulled into McKinnon Station close to 11pm.

''I've never seen anything like it,'' the 45-year-old would recall of the next 15 terrifying minutes.

Taylor and his son were at the back of the train when, two carriages ahead, up to 10 youths, who got on at Glenhuntly, started moving down the train assaulting passengers.

''People were being attacked by these thugs, and they sought refuge in our carriage,'' Taylor said. ''Once we let them in, and held the doors shut [they] started pelting us with rocks. They smashed the windows working their way down. We had one guy who came in holding his head where he said he'd been struck by a bottle. One man opened the door and told them to go away. That guy was punched in the face.''

When the train finally left the station, Taylor's carriage contained several bloodied victims and many more upset and crying. ''As we pulled out, we saw the police arriving.''

Operator Metro's internal report of the incident records it lasting ''15-20 minutes … A gang of six to 10 youths, allegedly assaulted and threatened passengers with bottles.''

A Tasmanian tourist in town to watch the football underwent surgery for serious head injuries after the attacks. In a Keystone Kops moment, Metro later said a team of inspectors had not been able to get to the scene because they were stuck on a train immediately behind.

The incident was seen as a direct consequence of an unstaffed and seemingly neglected rail system, in which violence loomed in every dark corner.

Three days after the attack, Premier John Brumby said incidents like those at McKinnon caused him to ''lose a little bit of faith in fellow human beings''. But then the Premier returned to his preferred narrative about record police numbers, more transit cops on the beat, and the restaffing of train stations.

Seventy-five per cent of the violence that occurs on Melbourne's public transport system happens on its trains, at railway stations and in station car parks. It has become one of the state election's biggest issues, after extensive media coverage and a concerted campaign by the Liberal Party to put it centre stage.

A Chandler survey for 3AW of 6500 people released last week suggested that 89 per cent did not feel safe on Melbourne's public transport system at night.

But should the community be scared? The figures show that while Melbourne's trains compare badly to some overseas services in terms of assaults, they also indicate the likelihood of being assaulted on a train is marginal. And the number of violent incidents has remained reasonably steady over the past four years, while patronage has boomed.

There are, according to the Auditor-General, 33 offences committed for every million trips taken on Melbourne's train system.

Police and ticket inspectors have targeted ''hot spots'' and brought down incident levels in the most frequently troubled locales, such as Dandenong and Frankston.

Asked at the launch of Labor's transport election policy last week if the city's trains were safe, Brumby said the regular presence of uniformed police was still required. He also said there was ''some police presence'' on most night trains, a statement later challenged by the opposition.

''In an ideal world there would be no crime, but there is,'' Brumby said, but the problem, he intimated, was one of perception. ''Perceptions are important.''

Talk to young people at Dandenong station and they will say their experiences have been mostly good - safe - and not much like the picture being painted.

Darcy Willett, 17, said he regularly comes to the train station at night. ''You get druggies and stuff like that, but it's all right. I have to catch a bus from here at night and it's not that bad - there's police here and you feel safe. There's station staff here too.''

But his 15-year-old friend, Alex Shaw, said she would not travel by herself through the station at night.

Strahinja Ajvaz, 19, is an RMIT engineering student who travels daily through Dandenong station. ''Overall, it's not as bad as people say. At night time there's always police around and there's a lot more staff,'' he said. ''Dandy's known for its gruesome behaviour,'' he observed with a wry smile.

Dandenong, Werribee and Lilydale are a key focus for police trying to diminish their perception as dangerous places. Meanwhile, what's happening at the stations where there seldom are staff? Crime on Melbourne's train system has remained constant over the past four years, with about 7000 assaults or robberies, thefts from motor vehicles, drug possession offences and weapon charges every year.

How does our situation compare internationally? In Toronto, the transit authority said there had been a rise in crime of 11 per cent in 2008 (the most recent figures available). There had been 160 assaults across the entire public transport system, where 750 million trips are taken annually.

In Melbourne, where 219 million trips were taken on trains last year, the recent Auditor-General's report on personal safety on Melbourne's rail system showed 1190 crimes against the person in 2008-09. In 2005-06 there were 887. In the past year, according to Victoria Police's 2009/10 statistics, crimes against the person on all public transport has risen by 3.4 per cent to a total of 1808 offences.

Acting Auditor-General Peter Frost's report made clear that installing CCTV was having little effect in making travellers feel safer. It found the community viewed ticket inspectors as revenue collectors whose presence did little to make people feel safer.

The report found that while patronage on Melbourne's train network had boomed in 2007-08, accompanied by a rise in crime, crime rates declined the following year. That led the government to claim success in reducing crime on the network. The report said: ''Observing a crime on Melbourne's train system is, in relative terms, a rare event.''

Melbourne University criminology specialist Stuart Ross agrees that public transport in Melbourne is relatively safe.

''At a simple, comparative level, there are lots of other places more dangerous. Being out in a public place, just in the street, is the most dangerous place for men. And typically for women, the most dangerous place is in the home, because it's frequently where family violence happens.''

He points to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' crime victimisation survey, which in 2008-09 recorded that 4 per cent of assaults occurred ''in a private or public vehicle''. Similarly, Victoria Police recorded 33,691 assaults in 2008-09 - of these 1190 happened on a train. ''At some level though,'' says Dr Ross, ''the raw number isn't important, what's important to people is that they are not among the 200 or whatever number it is assaulted.''

There are now 250 transit police. This will increase to 350, with both Labor and the opposition promising a boost of 100 in the run-up to the election. Where the two major parties differ is on returning staff to suburban stations.

While both have promised more, Labor's plan for 180 station attendants over the next four years lacks detail on precisely which year and at what times they will be returned to suburban stations.

The opposition is promising what many in the public transport industry see as an overreaction - two armed police protective services officers on every railway station in Melbourne, and in most large regional stations, after 6 o'clock each night. The officers would remain at the station until the final train of the night has departed.

This would mean that two officers would be on busy stations from 6 each night. They would also be sitting at remote stations such as Officer, near Pakenham. Fewer than 80 passengers a day use its platforms, which offer views of paddocks grazed by cows and sheep.

Operator Metro's chief executive, Andrew Lezala, says that even he sometimes feels scared. But, like Brumby and Auditor-General Des Pearson, he argues that the problem is one of perception.

''I ride the railways a lot and I sometimes feel intimidated, and I'm not a particularly shy guy,'' Lezala told a Melbourne Press Club meeting last month. ''I know we have an intimidation issue,'' he said.

Indeed, it seems even Lezala's station staff believe they are not safe. In August, after a man armed with a handgun held up the Melbourne Central ticket office and escaped with about $400, more than 100 Metro station staff demanded safer working conditions. Lezala says 40 per cent of his passengers do not feel safe on Metro services.

He has warned of the potentially deadly consequences from the opposition's plans for armed guards on railway stations, saying it risked a repeat of the shooting on a London train in 2005 of an innocent man wrongly suspected of being a terrorist. (The opposition said Lezala was merely trying to curry favour with the government to get back revenue held from Metro for poor performance.)

''We have a number of issues with youth gangs, people who are intoxicated and people who have mental issues,'' Lezala said, adding that more visibility of staff on the trains and on stations would help.

But Lezala has also repeatedly made another point: statistically, you would have to travel for 385 years before you were likely to be assaulted on Melbourne's trains.
Crime figures

Of 7055 criminal offences on Melbourne's train system in 2008-09:

 

■ 17% were assaults or robberies

■ 62% property crimes, for example theft from or damage to car

■ 5% drug-related including possession, use and trafficking

■ 16% of other crimes included possessing an illegal weapon and inappropriate behaviour

2005-06 crime rates: 6949 (assaults: 887)

2006-07 crime rates: 6998 (assaults: 1114)

2007-08 crime rates: 7774 (assaults: 1327)

2008-09 crime rates: 7055 (assaults: 1190)

Crimes per million boardings:

 

2005-06: 45

2006-07: 40

2007-08: 40

2008-09: 33

Passengers' rating of their own safety, the Safety Perception Score:

2005-06: 55 out of 100

2006-07: 54 out of 100

2007-08: 53 out of 100

2008-09: 51 out of 100
Source: Personal Safety and Security on Metropolitan Train System, June 2010, Auditor-General's report
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2010, 03:35:37 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Wait for rail safety boost

Quote
Wait for rail safety boost
Clay Lucas
December 2, 2010

VICTORIANS will have to wait until the middle of next year before seeing the first of 940 police protective services officers promised by Premier-elect Ted Baillieu on suburban and regional railway stations, Coalition costings released before Saturday's election show.

Two armed protective services officers are to be employed to staff each suburban station in Melbourne, and some regional stations, from 6 o'clock each night until the last train service.

Mr Baillieu yesterday told 3AW that his new government would ''look to have a significant proportion of them out there within the first 12 months''.

His policy costings show that about 50 officers are expected to be employed in the first year of the rollout, starting from next July.

It is not clear which stations will be staffed first.

The costings show that $161 million has been budgeted to pay for the officers, who will be gradually employed over four years.

About 30 per cent of this spending is expected to be devoted to construction works to reopen station offices, some of which have been closed for more than a decade.

Many stations have ticketing equipment, especially new myki sales machines, that have been installed in front of doors or windows of unused offices.

Some stations with closed offices also do not have working toilet facilities for staff.

Analysis of the costings indicate that after 2011-12, when the first protective services officers are employed, about 170 more will be hired in 2012-13. The next year close to 300 more will be employed and, in the lead-up to the next state election in 2014, the final 420 officers hired.

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said that while recruiting and training protective services officers was ''a fairly imposing logistical exercise'', it would happen.

''People cannot expect it to happen by next February, this is going to take time,'' Mr Davies said. But he said it was a good move by the new government, one that would prove popular with train travellers.

Protective services officers do not have the same arrest powers as sworn police officers, Mr Davies said, but do have some common law powers.

Protective services officers are also paid less than police constables, with a starting salary of $48,113, which rises over a decade of service to $66,843. Police constables have a starting salary of $52,180, increasing far in excess of protective services officers' potential wages.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2010, 03:45:17 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Police Minister Peter Ryan backs pledge on stations

Quote
Police Minister Peter Ryan backs pledge on stations

    * Peter Rolfe
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * December 12, 2010 12:00AM

POLICE Minister Peter Ryan has rejected claims the State Government will be unable to put officers on every Melbourne train station in the next four years.

Union and transport officials have raised queries about the Baillieu Government's ability to deliver a pre-state election pledge to employ in its first term 940 protective services officers to staff stations and an extra 100 transit safety division police to ride public transport.

Among the concerns are claims:

LOGISTICAL problems such as how officers will get guns to and from work, where they will go to the toilet, how they will get home once the last train has run and what they will do with law breakers they arrest are yet to be addressed.

RECRUITS would need to do the same firearm training as frontline police - and return for training every six months.

THE police academy would struggle to accommodate thousands of recruits hired to fill the protective services role, including candidates that would not make the cut or would quit along the way - as well as 1600 uniformed police recruits promised by the new Government.

But Mr Ryan said those concerns were "a lot of c--p" and would "not be a problem".

"This can and it will be done," he said.

"This is, as you know, an absolute cornerstone of what we brought to the whole debate over law and order. Not only can it be delivered, it will be delivered.

"Everyone involved in its delivery understands it is very clear Government policy."

Police Union secretary Greg Davies said the Government faced an uphill battle to roll out the policy as promised.

"It won't be easy, it will be very difficult, but they have committed to it so they have to do it," he said.

Opposition police spokesman James Merlino said the commitment was "unambiguous".

"The Liberal-Nationals Coalition has made a promise, a commitment to deliver all of this in one term," he said.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2010, 01:54:37 PM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Rail staff up in arms over plan for station guards

Quote
Rail staff up in arms over plan for station guards
Clay Lucas
December 15, 2010

THE state's railway workers are on a collision course with the new Baillieu government, over its plan to put armed guards on railway stations after dark.

In a resolution expected to be passed this morning by ticket inspectors, and to be followed by a vote of metropolitan railway station staff next week, members of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union are opposing the government's armed guards promise.

The government was elected last month on a pledge to install two armed police protective services officers on every suburban railway station, and major regional stops, from 6pm until the last train each night.

The first officers will not begin work at stations until at least next July.

Rail union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn said his members were worried about serious violence and even deaths occurring if guards on platforms were given guns.

''We have always had concerns about what armed protective services officers on the [rail] system mean for our members and the public,'' Mr Dobbyn said.

The union will also argue that the introduction of guns on to station platforms is a fundamental change to rail employee working conditions, and push for a review of industrial agreements.

Protective services officers are required to complete only eight weeks of training, compared with 23 weeks for sworn police officers.

Rail workers and train drivers want to see all Victorian railway stations restaffed, but with attendants rather than armed guards.

The union wants the government to conduct and publicly release an assessment of the risks associated with introducing firearms on to the railway system. There is also serious concern within the union that the tasks now being done by inspectors, such as checking tickets, may ultimately be done by the protective services officers, meaning jobs would be lost.

The union yesterday threatened industrial action if employing armed guards meant a reduction in staff numbers. Police Minister Peter Ryan said this would not happen.

A spokeswoman for Mr Ryan, Sonia Heath, said the police protective services officers would deal specifically with criminal activity, and keeping passengers safe. ''They will be employed in addition to the current staff,'' Ms Heath said.

Metro Trains chief executive Andrew Lezala, in the lead-up to the state election, warned of the potentially deadly consequences of employing armed guards on Melbourne's railway.

The opposition last night also voiced its concern about the government's armed guards policy. Public transport spokeswoman Fiona Richardson said the plan could potentially backfire.

''In addressing the problem of security on trains, we all need to be confident that the Baillieu government is not just creating a new set of problems,'' Ms Richardson said.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2010, 02:08:44 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Crunch time for law and order

Quote
Crunch time for law and order

    * Matt Johnston
    * From: Herald Sun
    * December 21, 2010 12:00AM

VICTORIANS could be a step closer to having armed guards on train station platforms after State Parliament sits today.

Draft laws to provide for public safety officers at train stations and to scrap suspended sentences are likely to be introduced to speed up reforms.

Premier Ted Baillieu has recalled Parliament for a special sitting day to show voters he will implement key promises.

The Herald Sun believes that legislation likely to be introduced first will include laws to abolish suspended sentences to ensure thugs and sexual offenders serve time behind bars.

But laws on minimum sentencing standards may not appear in Parliament until next year.

It will take months for laws to be passed through both houses, even if they are not blocked by opposition parties.

Mr Baillieu said Victorians were keen to see action.

"Victorians elected us to get on with the job and make our community safer," he said.

Governor David de Kretser will open the 57th Parliament before outlining the Government's agenda for the next four years.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #26 on: January 06, 2011, 12:57:50 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Train fault led to passenger's death

Quote
Train fault led to passenger's death
Clay Lucas
January 6, 2011

A FAULTY train and problems with its emergency intercom contributed to the death of a passenger who was killed after he forced open doors and became trapped outside, a government safety report has concluded.

The man was dragged under the train and the driver continued for a further 1.1 kilometres before becoming aware of what had occurred.

On October 20, 2009, Peter Johnston, 36, forced open doors on the rear carriage of a Frankston-bound train as it left Melbourne Central station around midnight.

He had taken the prescription drug Valium and had been drinking cask wine over an extended period with a friend on the train shortly before the accident happened.

Mr Johnston forced open the train door, and his friend leapt from the train but tripped, sustaining minor injuries. Mr Johnston followed, but he too slipped and got stuck in the train door.

''The door closed and the man was left in a seated position on the platform edge, with his body against the side of the car,'' a report into the incident, completed late last year by the state government's rail safety investigator, Ian McCallum, found.

''He was dragged along the platform with his right leg extended in front and holding a bottle in his right hand. He slid on his buttocks in this position for the remaining length of the platform until striking a safety handrail post [and then falling] beneath the train.''

The report found the train would have been travelling at more than 50km/h when Mr Johnston struck the handrail.

The train driver, who had 23 years' experience, did nothing wrong, the report concluded, because he had received no warning that the door was stuck open.

A safety mechanism on the train was meant to alert the driver - via a flashing blue light on his dashboard - that the door had been forced open or had been obstructed. But it failed to work, the report found, and ''did not provide a warning indication to the driver.''

Had the warning system worked, the driver might have stopped rapidly, the report found.

At the time of the accident, the report notes, ''no daily process existed to check the integrity of the door monitoring [system] prior to a train entering service''.

The incident happened while Connex was running Melbourne's rail system, and 43 days before Metro took over.

Connex, the report found, was aware of the defect on Comeng trains that could lead to drivers being unaware if doors were not properly shut. But ''there was no daily pre-service procedure to check for such a fault condition''.

A Metro spokeswoman said door warning systems on every Comeng train were now tested every time a new driver boarded a train.

While the intercom in the carriage where the man was trapped did work, so many passengers pressed it at once to talk to the driver that he could not hear what they were saying. ''The repeated pressing of the passenger emergency intercom by the passengers resulted in the constant sounding of the alarm tone in the driver's cabin,'' the report found.

The CCTV in the carriage also failed to provide the driver with a view of the incident because, the report found, it had earlier been obscured by three youths travelling on the train.

A coronial inquest into Mr Johnston's death is scheduled for May.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2011, 05:20:43 AM »
Herald Sun --> New Victoria Police squad to make public transport safe again
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2011, 04:04:06 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

No date on railway guards

Quote
No date on railway guards

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * March 12, 2011 12:00AM

COMMUTERS will be protected from criminals and louts by guards armed with guns and possibly batons and capsicum spray.

But the State Government is yet to decide when Melbourne's railway stations will get the first of 940 armed guards.

Transport is set to remain a thorn in the side of the Government, with commuter chaos again yesterday after a power shutdown on trains between Richmond and Camberwell.

The annual fare increase, on hold since January, starts tomorrow, with fares to rise an average 3.1 per cent.

Police Minister Peter Ryan said every station would have guards by the end of the Government's term in 2014.

It will cost $200 million over four years, and the Government insists it will be delivered on budget.

This is despite concerns about staff amenities, such as toilets, at stations that have not been used for years.

Senior police have also privately expressed concern about the policy, under which there would be armed Victoria Police protective services officers on every station.

The officers, whose duties include security work at Parliament and the courts, would patrol stations from 6pm until the last service.

Stations at Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Traralgon will also get officers.

It was a key Coalition policy in the lead-up to last year's state election.

More than 100 days after Premier Ted Baillieu came to power, the finer details of the plan are yet to be decided.

Police Association assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said more police would have been preferred.

"It ... can work very well, but it will be an administrative nightmare for Victoria Police - a challenge to find enough qualified people to do this work," Insp McKenzie said. "It's really important the people employed to do this work are of the highest integrity."
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2011, 09:50:11 AM »
Quote
The annual fare increase, on hold since January, starts tomorrow, with fares to rise an average 3.1 per cent.

A walk in the park compared to the 15% in Brisbane!
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2011, 10:57:14 AM »
Waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people is the answer not more policing of unsafe urban spaces.  Time for new approaches as the old ones have not worked.

New York City - the city that never sleeps - has waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people. It is also the city that had (has?) a reputation of being an "unsafe urban space". Safety did not improve until they (almost literally) put a Policeman on every corner.

Please reconcile this with your theory.

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2011, 03:53:53 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Gun-toting station guards lack police powers, training ... and loos

Quote
Gun-toting station guards lack police powers, training ... and loos

    * Ashley Gardiner
    * From: Herald Sun
    * March 26, 2011 12:00AM

RAILWAY station guards will get just eight weeks' training before they are handed semi-automatic weapons and sent to work on Melbourne's train network.

Details of the State Government's plans for Victoria Police protective services officers were revealed under questioning in Parliament this week. New details of the PSO policy reveal that:

GUARDS' authority will be restricted to within the station precinct, including platforms and car parks.

PSOs might need to hitch a ride with passing police for a toilet break.

THEY have only common law powers to make citizens' arrests.

NO funding will go to new facilities, such as shelters.

Under the policy, every railway station in Melbourne would have two armed officers from 6pm until the last train leaves.

The State Opposition yesterday ridiculed the policy, calling it a shambles.

When asked, Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Richard Dalla-Riva said armed guards would not get extra training in dealing with the mentally ill.

"The PSOs who operate here (in Parliament) could go into a railway station and operate there today," Mr Dalla-Riva said.

When they require it, PSOs might have to catch a train to a station with a toilet or be given a lift by passing police.

"It may be that you have a divvy van with an extra seat that is cruising past," Mr Dalla-Riva said.

At the beginning of a shift, PSOs would meet centrally at a police station, where they would collect their equipment before being deployed to train stations.

"If a police station is next to a railway station, it would make the most sense to put everyone on a train," Mr Dalla-Riva said.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews ridiculed the policy.

"It is at best unfair, and at worst unworkable, to ask protective services officers to work a long shift with no shelter, no toilet ... no place to have a meal break," Mr Andrews said.

"This is an absolute shambles. This is a fraud on the people of Victoria."

Premier Ted Baillieu defended the policy.

"It's been very well thought through, and further works have been going on with Victoria Police," Mr Baillieu said.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2011, 08:26:26 PM »
Waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people is the answer not more policing of unsafe urban spaces.  Time for new approaches as the old ones have not worked.

New York City - the city that never sleeps - has waiters, shop attendants, patrons, active plazas and more people. It is also the city that had (has?) a reputation of being an "unsafe urban space". Safety did not improve until they (almost literally) put a Policeman on every corner.

Please reconcile this with your theory.

The difference is that NYC had decades of chronic shortages of Police per capita. Crime was an institution in the City and as much as the Herald Sun would have you believe it, Melbourne has nowhere near that level of criminality.

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2011, 03:46:24 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Crime crackdown is PR, not protection

Quote
Crime crackdown is PR, not protection

    * Stephen McMahon
    * From: Herald Sun
    * April 06, 2011 12:00AM

KEEPING commuters safe is a nine-to-five job, according to the latest Victoria Police crackdown on violence on the train system.

Instead of attacking crime during the most dangerous period late at night, Operation Barracuda will tackle it during the morning or evening rush hours.

Commuters and the State Opposition have complained this seems more about PR than protection as the officers will be jammed in on packed trains making it hard to fight crime.

A log of every violent incident on the trains shows up to 73 reports in a two-month period during 2009 of unruly behaviour by gangs, attempted rapes, stabbings, robberies and rocks being thrown at trains - mostly after dark.

Assistant Commissioner Andrew Crisp said police in the operation would travel in during the morning rush-hour peak from the outer suburbs to patrol Flinders St and Southern Cross station before taking the evening trains out of the city.

Despite the rise in violence on or around train stations, Mr Crisp described Melbourne's train system as "very safe" for the 400,000 people using it daily.

He said only about three people a day were bashed or the victims of a crime on the train system.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said during peak hours the trains were so crowded there was no room for criminals.

"Commuters would prefer to see the police late at night when the danger level is much higher," he said.

Opposition police spokesman James Merlino said the Baillieu Government's policing policy was lurching from one shambles to the next.

"One week they tell commuters it is OK for police to be taxi drivers for PSOs on toilet runs and now they tell us the best time to fight transport crime is during peak hours - it defies logic," he said.

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2011, 03:49:33 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Do we really want semi-automatic firearms in the hands of train patrol officers?

Quote
Do we really want semi-automatic firearms in the hands of train patrol officers?
John Silvester
April 9, 2011

THIS column is all for extra troops in the never-ending battle for law and order.

And this column has a grudging respect for the energy and endeavour shown by new Deputy Premier and Police Minister Peter Ryan, who did the hard yards in opposition.

Certainly in the dark days when Ted Baillieu could get his picture in the paper only when wearing budgie smugglers while competing in freezing ocean swims (memo picture editors: always use pre-race rather than post-race pictures), the opposition well and truly coupled its caboose to the law-and-order train.

We applaud the move to employ 1700 extra police, to introduce some sentencing transparency, improve the diet of police dogs, and to lock up anyone who even thinks of dropping litter. Then again we hanker for the days when stocks were used on gormless criminals as well as gourmet soups.

But it is our melancholy duty to inform our readers that the plan to employ 940 extra protective services officers so that every Melbourne railway station will have two guards at night is, quite simply, nuts.

We have been unable to find one senior police officer who agrees with the initiative. Most go grey and mumble like Lurch from the Addams Family when the subject is even broached.

Make no mistake, it is a disaster waiting to happen and should be filed under the heading ''Good idea at the time''.

Let's do the maths. There are roughly 200 railway stations in Melbourne. The 2009 crime figures published by The Sunday Age showed 45 per cent of assaults occurred at just 10 stations: Flinders Street, Dandenong, Broadmeadows, Footscray, St Albans, Ringwood, Bayswater, Frankston, Southern Cross and Thomastown.

In broad terms, fewer than 400 assaults are recorded across the network and only half take place at night. So we will employ nearly 1000 armed guards to try to stop 200 reported assaults.

And in 116 stations there were no assaults at all. Zippo.

The PSOs will follow a policy favoured by Noah and go about their business two by two. So every night we will pay 232 guards to protect the 116 stations where you are more likely to suffer noise deafness from a loud iPod than suffer injury caused by some acid-filled junkie who wants to steal your phone to sell for ''angel dust''.

These PSOs will be paid to stand in the cold and (hopefully) resist the temptation to play with their weapons. This is because they will be armed with new semi-automatic Smith & Wesson firearms, as well as capsicum spray and batons. Gandhi, they ain't.

They will be trained for upwards of eight weeks (final details of the course are yet to be decided) before they are let loose on an unsuspecting public with little or no supervision. This has all the hallmarks of Police Academy 3 without the laughs - or the sound effects.

Let's put it another way. It takes longer to study for a TAFE level-four fitness certificate to become a personal trainer, which means it will be harder to to build guns in a gym than carry one on a station.

Mr Baillieu says the initiative will cost $50 million a year, but logic says it has to blow out.

We are now going to put hundreds of powerful firearms into the community on the hips of men and women with little or no experience. And this is at a time when senior police admit they need to give their people more training in resolving conflict through non-lethal options.

The politically driven initiative flies directly in the face of every police strategy designed to deal with flashpoints. Sworn police in Melbourne tend to patrol trouble spots in groups of at least four, having found through experience that they are exposed in pairs.

And Chief Commissioner Simon Overland has set up the 200-strong Operation Response Unit to blitz trouble spots, having learnt that to make an impact police must hit an area in numbers.

Two PSOs on a station will nearly always be outnumbered during any serious trouble, leaving them with the choice of (a) running away or (b) producing weapons with potentially fatal consequences.

You don't have to be a genius police strategist. Just watch an old cowboys and indians movie and see how the soldiers end up with arrows in their hats.

The PSOs could be sitting ducks. Isolated on a dark station platform, they could be picked off by gangs looking for trouble, and high-powered weapons.

The law of unintended consequences means the move could mean fewer police, not more, on the road.

The PSOs will start their shift at a police station where they will pick up their equipment, including firearms. It is expected they will then be driven in a police car to their designated railway stations, many of which do not have toilets. This means when they need a comfort break they will have to be picked up and transported back to the police station.

In winter they will face wind chill, abuse and primitive conditions. To survive they will need the metabolism of an emperor penguin, the hide of a rhino and the bladder of an elephant. And if they get that the wrong way round it will be a hell of a mess.

They will be paid about $48,000 a year (more with penalties). So we will pay about $100,000 just in wages to have two sit on some station where the last known crime was when an American sailor gave an Australian girl a pair of contraband stockings on VJ Day.

Police confidently predict the turnover will be dramatic as PSOs become disillusioned with dangerous and boring shift work. Therefore it is not just a commitment of 940 but an annual drain as hundreds more will have to be recruited to replace those who run screaming into the night.

What are the chances of career advancement? Will they be moved from guarding the Ringwood station to guarding the one in Toorak? Or will they be rewarded for loyal service by being promoted to a station that has a room with a loo?

We live in a time of full employment, where you can make the equivalent money, with better conditions, less risk, and real career opportunities. And where a lavatory is not considered a fringe benefit.

In the next four years police will have to find thousands of recruits both to cover the government promise of 1700 more police and to fill holes left by retirements and resignations. So why would you want to be a PSO when you could be a new constable on $52,000 with a real career path?

And if you can't qualify to join the police, should you be allowed to strap on a semi-automatic and head out on railway patrol?

To accommodate PSO training, the academy has been turned into Lego-Land, and some major courses, including Detective Training School, may be cut back.

Queensland has gone through similar angst over railway security, but has gone in a different direction, using a private company to fill the void. This avoids shedding blood by accepting the bleeding obvious: commuters are more concerned about aggressive behaviour on trains than at stations.

Securecorp private security guards ride on 40 per cent of Queensland city trains after 6pm from Sunday to Thursday and all services after 7pm on Fridays and Saturdays. They are not armed but they do have back-up.

The service includes several support vehicles containing dog handlers who can arrive at a flashpoint with a rottweiler or German shepherd. Louts on trains tend to lose interest when confronted by an angry drooler, particularly if he has an attack dog with him.

The government is delighted with the results and the contract was extended earlier this year.

Mr Baillieu is determined to make sure the only tumble turns he does are at his local swimming pool during lap training.

But the government must revisit this hare-brained scheme before someone with a hair-trigger turns the whole thing ugly. There is a real possibility this debate may spill from Parliament to the Coroners Court if anyone gets shot on a dark railway station in the dead of night.

There is only one thing worse than a politician who breaks a promise. It is one who won't, even if it would stop a train wreck.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #35 on: April 10, 2011, 07:07:52 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Arrest powers for guards

Quote
Arrest powers for guards
Farrah Tomazin
April 10, 2011

ARMED guards promised by the Baillieu government to boost safety at train stations will be granted police-like powers to apprehend and arrest troublemakers on the rail network.

The new crop of 940 protective services officers, who will be deployed after 6pm, will be armed with semi-automatic firearms, capsicum sprays and batons.

In a move that will alarm civil libertarians and widen tensions with the police union, the government is preparing to unveil laws that will give the new PSOs ''sufficient capacities and sufficient arrest powers'' to deal with alcohol-fuelled violence and antisocial behaviour at stations.

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said he had ''very grave concerns that if the PSOs' powers are expanded, it will make them quasi-police officers, and once you do that, you're on the road to second-tier policing''.

Liberty Victoria president Spencer Zifcak said he opposed the granting of arrest powers, describing the PSOs as ''a cheap and knee-jerk response''. The lightly trained officers would be placed in ''potentially explosive situations'', which could lead to someone being shot, he said.

Police Minister Peter Ryan said details were still being worked out with police command. But he said the guards - widely criticised as being under-trained compared with sworn police officers - would be ''appropriately empowered'' to make arrests and handle ''the sort of antisocial behaviour that people should not have to cop when they're using the train system''.

The officers may also be given the power to seize weapons and search offenders - including minors.

''The powers will change to a sufficient degree to enable the PSOs to deal with the problems we have historically encountered on the platforms,'' Mr Ryan said. ''To the extent that requires people to be arrested - yes they will have the powers of arrest.''

At present, protective services officers who guard places such as Parliament House or the Department of Premier and Cabinet only have citizen's arrest powers, which can be imposed only when they see a crime take place. (Those guarding courts have the additional powers to frisk search and seize weapons.) But the new crop of officers, who will be deployed across every metropolitan and major regional rail line, will receive strengthened arrest powers, as well as being armed.

The introduction of 940 PSOs was a central plank of Ted Baillieu's pre-election pledge to ''get tough on crime''. They will be phased in over the next four years. But already the move has divided police, worried legal advocates, and placed the government under political heat.

The government's plans to not extend training for PSOs, yet boost their powers, have compounded concerns. The officers will be armed after receiving only eight weeks' training. Police receive 23 weeks' training plus 10 weeks' on-the-job training. There are fears the officers will not be sufficiently equipped to make split-second life-and-death decisions or contend with people under the influence of drugs or alcohol or suffering from a mental illness.

''When you're talking about search powers, or the searching of minors, these are extremely serious powers - and that's why only sworn and fully trained police have them,'' said opposition police spokesman James Merlino.

Fitzroy Legal Service executive officer Robin Inglis said it was simplistic to think crime could be solved by ''scaling up'' police powers.

''The notion that a whole lot of new people might be given similar powers to sworn police, and be armed is a cause for concern,'' he said
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #36 on: April 10, 2011, 07:26:04 AM »
Boost police numbers and create a dedicated police rail squad would be my 2 cents.

But please please please don't give them firearms.

As it is, it appears that the firearms will be stored at police stations, the security guards trained at the police academy, using police firearm ranges, being driven from the police station to the railway station and back again..... what a logistic nightmare. Remembering the security guards will have to probably have to requalify and/or be retrained on the firearms every 6 months.

My experience with Joe Public in Oz is that they don't particularly like the display of sidearms in public, but these days are more tolerant with respect to police. I don't believe this to be the case with security guards and may well have negative public opinion impacts.

What is going to happen the first time a security guard fires their weapon whether it be a unauthorised discharge or heaven forbid wound or kills someone, or loses their firearm, or even unholsters it inappropriately?

What problem are they trying to solve? Violence on the Rail network? If you must have a dedicated group of security guards, then make them available for all public transport and provide batons, radios, dogs and appropriate training and coverage and monitor the effectiveness.

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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2011, 06:42:13 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Metro orders rail cop review

Quote
Metro orders rail cop review
Ben Schneiders, Josh Gordon and Adam Morton
April 11, 2011

RAIL operator Metro has ordered a risk assessment of the use of armed protective services officers at train stations, amid growing opposition to the Baillieu government's plan.

But Police Minister Peter Ryan rejected concerns of police and unions about the potential risks to the public and the officers and vowed to press ahead whatever the findings of the review.

Under the government's plan, 940 protective services officers (PSO) armed with semi-automatic firearms, capsicum spray and batons will be deployed at train stations from 6pm until close.

A Metro spokesman confirmed it would undertake the risk assessment and said it would do so with any change to work practices. He said the review was at a ''scoping'' stage.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union state secretary Trevor Dobbyn said Metro - which has previously raised concerns about the proposal - had agreed to the union's request for an assessment and said the operator would look to ''identify and mitigate'' the risks involved.

''Putting two armed PSOs on to every station raises a whole lot of safety questions and we're concerned how it will operate,'' Mr Dobbyn said. ''If those firearms are used, of course, that's a worry to our members. We've never had this on the system before.''

He said there were ''real questions'' about how the PSOs - who have less training than regular police - would deal with ''gangs of youths, the psychiatrically disturbed and people affected by alcohol or drugs'', and the circumstances in which the guns would be used.

Last August, before the state election, Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala raised similar concerns about the Coalition proposal and linked having armed guards on the system to the 2005 shooting of an innocent man on a London train.

The then opposition transport spokesman, Terry Mulder, described Mr Lezala's comments as ''irresponsible, foolish and unfit for a person in his position'' and said he would find it ''very difficult'' to work with the Metro boss.

Mr Ryan yesterday mounted a vigorous defence of the plan, stressing the PSOs would have the same weapons training and would be subject to the same security assessments as normal police recruits. ''I have no doubt about their abilities to undertake the tasks which will be within their area of responsibility,'' Mr Ryan told The Age.

''We are determining their area of responsibility in a way which was always intended and will confine their activities to the railway stations and the railway precincts.''

Mr Ryan said the plan for a risk assessment by Metro was ''entirely a matter for them'', but warned the policy would be implemented no matter what the findings. ''This is an issue of government policy, it will be applied and we are very happy, of course, though, to work with Metro,'' he said. ''Everybody is a winner from this process.''

Police Association secretary Greg Davies said he doubted there would be enough suitable applicants, given the government had promised to increase police numbers by 1700 over four years. Once retirements and attrition were factored in, it would equate to about 3200 new police officers.

But he said PSOs were being maligned as armed guards. He said they had to complete eight weeks of training also given to police cadets, including the same three weeks of weapons training. ''They are not gun-toting deputy sheriffs for Tombstone, Arizona,'' he said.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #38 on: April 14, 2011, 11:22:30 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

PSOs will help reclaim station safety

Quote
PSOs will help reclaim station safety

    * Ted Baillieu
    * From: Herald Sun
    * April 14, 2011 12:00AM

THE Government went to the recent state election committed to putting Victoria Police protective services officers on train stations.

A number of unions and interest groups now want the Government to water down or abandon its commitment.

Our Government stands firm in its commitment to deliver on that policy.

The vast majority of Victorians have told me they strongly support our plan because they are scared to use public transport at night, and train stations in particular have become places of fear instead of places of safety.

Women and elderly Victorians especially want urgent action to improve safety and security on the public transport network.

This fear is not a mere perception, given that there were more than 400 assaults on the metropolitan rail network from March 2010 to February 2011, with many occurring at or in the vicinity of train stations.

We recognised this pattern of train violence in opposition and pledged to do all we could to improve safety and security for travellers.

Those who have criticised us in recent weeks and months have made plenty of claims. It's a shame they didn't check their facts before rushing to criticise, denigrating PSOs in the process.

Our Government is proud of our PSOs and the great work they do protecting Government offices, our courts, Victoria Police's St Kilda Rd complex and the Parliament. If PSOs are good enough to protect our Parliament, courts and our members of Parliament, they are good enough to protect all Victorians.

In the interests of informed debate, these are the myths about PSOs that have been circulated in the community and the facts in each instance.

MYTH: PSOs won't have the same sort of firearms training as police and therefore may not be as proficient in firearms handling.

FACT: There are 150 PSOs working in Victoria and all of them, as well as the new PSOs who will be assigned

to protect train stations, have the same firearms training as Victorian Police.

PSOs train at the same academy as police in Glen Waverley and receive the same firearms training and defensive skills training as police recruits. PSOs are also required to requalify every six months, in the same manner as police.

MYTH: PSOs will be powerless to arrest people who may be about to commit a crime or who are suspected to have committed a crime.

FACT: PSOs already have the power to arrest any people they find who are committing an offence (either summary or indictable) to preserve public order, prevent the continuation or repetition of the offence or the commission of a further offence or for the safety and welfare of members of the public or of the offender.

MYTH: PSOs won't be equipped to deal with dangerous or escalating situations.

FACT: Victoria's PSOs protect Parliament, our courts and our MPs.

They often deal with protests outside of Parliament. Their work in the court system means they are constantly dealing with and assisting people with drug or alcohol problems, mental illness, and people who are angry or violent.

MYTH: PSOs will be powerless to deal with gangs or mobs of people and they will be vulnerable if they are only working in pairs at train stations.

FACT: PSOs will be trained to deal with group situations and will be provided with the necessary equipment, including capsicum spray and batons. Without PSOs, stations will remain unmanned and public transport users will be left vulnerable to gangs, thugs and criminals.

MYTH: No one supports the introduction of PSOs at train stations.

FACT: When the Coalition first announced this policy, the Police Association gave it their full support, with secretary Greg Davies saying: "You will have seen closed-circuit TV footage of people being beaten senseless in areas adjacent to railway stations. It is a real issue, particularly in Melbourne. It's nice to see somebody is finally taking the issue seriously instead of spending vast amounts of money on ticketing systems nobody wants. It is very welcome."

Another recent critic, Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen, said in 2009 that having extra staff on stations "would be a big help.

Many people are concerned about safety on railway stations after dark and this would largely solve that problem".

MYTH: PSOs will have to hail a police car to get a toilet break.

FACT: This is not correct. The Coalition Government has already announced that $20 million will be invested in upgrades to train station infrastructure, including ensuring clean and safe toilet facilities are provided for PSOs at stations they are patrolling.

MYTH: Giving PSOs expanded powers will lead to them becoming a "quasi police force".

FACT: For more than 20 years, PSOs have operated in Victoria under Victoria Police command without any such problems.

The Coalition Government is determined to make Victoria safe again. Additional PSOs on train stations, 1700 extra frontline police and more transit police will help to deliver a safer state for all Victorians.
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Re: Articles: Safety Security issues
« Reply #39 on: April 15, 2011, 03:21:55 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Transit police shortfall

Quote
Transit police shortfall
Clay Lucas
April 15, 2011

SAFETY on the Melbourne suburban rail network is in the hands of a skeleton staff of transit police, undermining claims by Victoria Police and the Baillieu government that they are targeting violence and crime on the trains.

A Victoria Police document obtained by The Age shows that just 72 Transit Safety Division officers are rostered on today to cover 15 suburban rail lines and 2156 scheduled train services.

The deployment of 72 transit officers is in marked contrast to police claims this week that 250 transit police are ''deployed across all areas of the system at varying times of day and night''.

Of the officers deployed today, 26 will work in the city centre, largely patrolling trams and railway stations.

The remaining 46 will be spread out across the suburban rail network - on a Friday that will include additional potential for trouble on late-night trains after the Collingwood-Richmond AFL match at the MCG. More than 50,000 people are expected to attend, with most using public transport.

The thin spread of transit police will be contrasted by rail operator Metro's deployment of 250 ticket inspectors as part of a fare evasion crackdown.

The revelations about transit police come amid growing opposition to the Baillieu government's separate plan to introduce Protective Service Officers at every station after dark.

Police Association Secretary Greg Davies yesterday said that while his members were not opposed to the protective service officers concept, they wanted more police patrolling the system first. ''No wonder our members are stretched trying to provide a safer rail network,'' Mr Davies said, after being shown the rosters.

''If there are 46 people available every day to travel on all of the trains, from first train to last train at night, they are simply spread too thinly on the ground.''

The Transit Safety Division roster indicates that there are currently 229 staff employed in the unit. An additional 26 sworn officers are in its criminal investigation unit. But the roster also indicates that 102 officers - almost half the total - will be absent today due to training, leave and other reasons.

Of the remainder, 14 will work in a city ''tasking team'', while scores are in administrative positions, leaving 72 active patrolling members.

Asked this week how many officers patrolled the city's public transport network, Victorian Police spokeswoman Anna Erbrederis said the force ''strongly rejects claims that there are around 100 front-line transit police officers''.

She said 250 sworn officers in the Transit Safety Division ''work across the public transport system in overt and covert roles, as well as investigations''. They would be boosted by an additional 100 officers by mid-year, bring total numbers to 350.

Safety on public transport network last year became a major election issue. But while Melbourne's trains in particular compare badly to some overseas services in terms of assaults, a report last year from the Auditor-General indicated the likelihood of being assaulted on a train is marginal.

And the number of violent incidents has remained reasonably steady over the past four years, while patronage has boomed.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said: ''We have a lot of stations with no staff at all, so the number of people working across our train network is low given the size of the network. It would be good to see a consistent staff presence rather than random roving patrols.''

Line    Number
on patrol
Werribee/Williamstown    5
Sydenham/Melton    7
Epping/Hurstbridge/Craigieburn/Upfield    6
Lilydale/Belgrave/Alamein/Glen Waverley    8
Cranbourne/Pakenham    10
Frankston/Stony Point    10
City patrol (mostly patrol city stations and trams)    26
Total    72

SOURCE: Transit Safety Division roster, Friday 15, 2011
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