Posted on 22. Feb, 2012 in News

The first group of Protective Service Officers (PSOs) being rolled out this week are being deployed to stations where there are toilet facilities rather than where they are actually needed, Acting Shadow Police Minister James Merlino said today.

Visiting the unstaffed Kananook station, Mr Merlino said the Baillieu Government’s PSO policy was in shambles, with suburban stations being neglected in the first round of the roll out.   “The PSO policy is in complete disarray,” Mr Merlino said.

“If this policy had any credibility, unstaffed stations with a number of reported incidents would have been among the first to have received PSOs.

“Instead, commuters using suburban stations are missing out because the Baillieu Government has bungled the roll out of what was considered its flagship law and order policy.”

Mr Merlino said the officers couldn’t be deployed to suburban stations because the Baillieu Government had failed to develop the details of the policy and invest in crucial facilities such as toilets and detention facilities.

“The Baillieu Government has refused to acknowledge that by placing PSOs on train platforms, it must provide funding to secure basic facilities such as toilets and detention facilities,” he said

“Commuters have been left wondering when the Government will start the preliminary work so that PSOs can begin duty at stations where people will actually be getting off the train after dark.

“Until Mr Baillieu addresses these issues and puts his money where his mouth is, the community can’t have confidence that Victoria’s public transport network will be any safer.”

Mr Merlino said the failure to target suburban stations was the latest in a long list of problems with the Baillieu Government’s maligned PSO policy.

“With so many unanswered questions, it is little wonder there has been an underwhelming response to the recruitment program. At the current rate, it will take nearly 60 years to fill all 940 positions,” he said.

“This comes after the Government failed to properly budget for station upgrades, leaving a budget blackhole of $85 million.

“Mr Baillieu needs to start being honest with commuters and outline when and where the PSOs will be rolled out and how much this mess is ultimately going to cost taxpayers.”

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