Posted on 18. May, 2010 in News

Melbourne’s suburban rail network has undergone a major safety boost with a multi-million CCTV upgrade complete and Victoria Police on track to boost to 250 the number of dedicated transit officers.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula and Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said transit police would be riding the rails and would use an $8.6 million CCTV upgrade to further drive down crime across the network.

Mr Pakula said safety across Melbourne’s rail network would be boosted following a major upgrade of CCTV at all metropolitan train stations, a further 20 stations to be staffed from first to last train and another 22 stations to be staffed by Metro during peak times.

“The $8.6 million upgrade has replaced all VCR based video recording with high quality digital pictures, which has helped police in identifying offenders,” Mr Pakula said.

“There are 3000 cameras right across the metropolitan rail network and the upgrades provide greater CCTV coverage of stations, platforms, car parks and transport interchanges.

“Footage from more than 2500 incidents has been given to Victoria Police to help with their investigations and in the majority of cases images and footage have been used as evidence in police proceedings.”

Mr Cameron said Victoria Police were also on track to boost transit officer numbers to 250 by the end of June, increasing the visible police presence across the network, responding to crime and acting as a powerful deterrent.

“The Brumby Labor Government supports the work of Victoria Police and is committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to carry out their vital work – whether on our streets or on our public transport network,” Mr Cameron said.

“The 2010-11 State Budget funded the biggest single one-off boost to police numbers in Victorian history and deliver 1,966 additional frontline police over five years as the centrepiece of a record $2 billion Victoria Police budget to help make the state’s streets and communities safer.

“We have continued to deliver more frontline police to the force and recently took more steps to strengthen our attack on anti-social behaviour even further.”

Mr Cameron said the Brumby Labor Government announced it would extend Victoria Police’s tough weapons search powers, and increase penalties for carrying knives and other illegal weapons and increase penalties for those behaving like drunken louts in public.

“While the new laws will increase on-the-spot penalties and extend police powers even further, they will also play a role in helping change attitudes in society and deterring people from carrying weapons and engaging in anti-social behaviour in the first instance,” he said.

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