By Kyra Gillespie
Additional PSOs will patrol Pakenham Railway Station, if a Liberal Nationals Government is elected.
Announced by Shadow Police and Community Safety Minister Edward O’Donohue on Monday 10 September, Pakenham would be one of 20 railway stations to see the deployment of PSOs to a new dayshift roster.
At the moment, PSO shifts are from 6pm until the last train.
Under the new scheme, they will be deployed from 10am to 6pm in addition to the current shift.
Tabetha Smith regularly commutes from Sale to visit her boyfriend, who lives in Berwick.
As someone familiar with the station, she welcomed the news.
“It would make me feel a lot safer to have PSOs here during the day,” Ms Smith said.
“You tend to see a lot of odd people hanging around stations during the day, as well as groups of youths who don’t have anything else to do but to cause trouble around these areas all day.”
Latest Crime Statistics Agency figures show that significant crime occurs during the day at railway stations where PSOs are not present.
In 2017, 40 criminal offences occurred between 1.30pm to 6pm at Pakenham Railway Station compared with 29 from 6pm through to 1.30pm.
MP Edward O’Donohue said Pakenham Station classifies as a “daytime crime hotspot.”
“Pakenham has been identified as a daytime crime hotspot,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“From 10am to 6pm more PSOs will be at the station under a Guy Government.
“If we are going to encourage more people to use more public transport then we need to make sure users are safe and feel safe.
“This is all about stopping crime and antisocial behaviour.”
He said the deployment could also quell the negativity often associated with Bourke Park, opposite the station.
“There’s been a lot of work done to amend the history of Bourke Park.
“This extra level of safety will help strengthen ties between Victoria Police and the community.”
Bass MP Brian Paynter said his own experiences at the station, as well as being a father, have elevated his support for the program.
“People need to feel safe while using public transport,” he said.
“I have daughters who often use public transport and tell me they feel a lot safer when there’s a PSO around.
“This extra shift will be a big plus for the community.”
The program will be rolled out alongside Vitroia Police and The Police Association Victoria.