Parliament Must Investigate PSO Roll Out To Restore Trust

A full and open parliamentary investigation of the Baillieu Government’s troubled PSO roll out was the only way to restore community confidence in the bungled policy, the Shadow Minister for Police, James Merlino, said today.

In Parliament this week, Mr Merlino called for the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee to investigate the implementation of the policy within 12 months and report back to Parliament.

“We need to do more to make people feel safe particularly on our public transport network – which is why Labor’s last Budget funded more transit police and more Metro staff,” Mr Merlino said.

“But the Baillieu Government’s planned deployment of 940 PSOs at railway stations is deeply flawed and the policy must be exposed for the shambles that it is.”

Mr Merlino said Mr Baillieu’s plan to give PSOs extensive new powers would not make people safer.

“Instead, it will create a second-tier police force whose members are not trained or paid as much as sworn police officers but who have extensive powers and are armed with the same guns.

“This new army of second-tier police will be able to be deployed anywhere at the Government’s whim.”

Mr Merlino said there was growing widespread community concern about the PSO deployment.

“There is serious doubt within the community about this policy and the Baillieu Government’s ability to implement it,” he said.

“There are concerns about lack of training for PSOs and cost blow outs in excess of $85 million.

“People are worried about the risks of excessive use of force, the Baillieu Government’s failure to provide basic facilities at train stations for PSOs as well as PSO recruitment processes and operational practicalities.”

Mr Merlino said Mr Baillieu had failed spectacularly to deliver the Coalition’s flagship policy.

“There is serious doubt within the community about the Baillieu Government’s ability to implement the PSO roll out effectively and as promised to the people of Victoria,” he said.

“The only way to restore community confidence in this policy is for the Baillieu Government to require the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee to scrutinise its operation in 12 months and report back to Parliament.”

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