Suburban Stations Miss Out Under Botched PSO Rollout

Ted Baillieu’s botched protective services officer plan has continued to unravel with revelations that most suburban stations will miss out after it was revealed that only 93 officers will be deployed to the rail network over the next 12 months, Shadow Police Minister James Merlino said today.

Responding to extensive questioning by Labor committee members, the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee was told the first wave of PSOs would not be deployed on middle and outer suburban railway stations.

“Mr Ryan has shown that the Baillieu Government’s flagship PSO plan is in utter disarray – quite simply, this is a poorly-planned, badly-costed and ill-considered policy, and it is falling apart at the seams.” Mr Merlino said.

“In December last year Mr Ryan said that 235 officers would be trained and deployed to stations by July 2012, but he has now admitted that only 93 of the 940 PSOs would be on railway stations by then. 

“The committee was told that only 93 officers would be deployed in this timeframe, and that this first tranche of PSOs would be concentrated at major city stations and inner suburban stations such as Richmond, the City Loop, Flinders Street Station and North Melbourne.”

“The Baillieu Government must stop dithering on its promises and seriously commit to planning and implementing its policies properly.  Victorians were promised more, but it seems that talk is cheap and Mr Ryan is unable to put his money where his mouth is.”

Mr Merlino said it was clear that the Baillieu Government was undermining the work of police command and that its PSO policy would not be delivered as promised.

“The Victorian community expects Mr Ryan to deliver on his commitments within the budget the Baillieu Government committed to,” he said.

“The cost of the PSO policy has blown out by around $85 million and Victorians will have to wait for years before PSOs are a regular feature across the network. 

“And this confusion and uncertainty about the rollout of PSOs is not just confined to the Melbourne network – regional Victorians are yet to hear exactly how many regional stations will receive PSOs, with the number of regional stations to receive PSOs varying between four and 13 depending on who is asked.

 “Mr Ryan needs to stop pretending he’s the co-Premier of Victoria and start doing some serious work to fix this policy that is badly costed, under-resourced and plagued with problems.”

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