Guards ‘should patrol trains’

There are enough transit police patrolling Melbourne stations, according to the state government.ARMED guards deployed at rail stations should also patrol trains to boost safety across the network, about a fifth of Melburnians think.

But the government has rejected such a move, saying there are enough transit police already doing that job.

The government-commissioned survey showed that while making the system feel safer topped respondents’ list of the most important things that Protective Services Officers should do, followed by dealing with anti-social behaviour, next was patrolling trains as well as stations.

There were 36 reported robberies and 152 assaults on Victorian trains in the 2010-11 financial year, with most believed to have occurred on Melbourne trains.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said it was not surprising people wanted patrols expanded to trains because late-night journeys were often intimidating.

”This is a very expensive initiative involving a large number of officers and they should be placed where the problems are and where they’d be most effective,” he said.

”To have two officers at a station like Toorak all night may not actually do much for safety whereas putting those two officers on a train out at the end of the line near Frankston might do a lot of good.

”There are transit police but [they have] no routine presence, it’s essentially random patrols … you can easily go weeks travelling at night without seeing any staff at all.”

Police Minister Peter Ryan said PSOs’ role was to patrol stations and this would not change.

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