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IBAC report about Transit PSOs is overstated and lacks context

Today the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) released a report titled `Transit Protective Services Officers an Exploration of Corruption and Misconduct Risks’. The report cites an increase in complaint allegations received regarding the conduct of Transit Protective Services officers between 2012 and 2015.

The report released by IBAC follows an examination of `all’ allegations received and recorded by Victoria Police and IBAC over this period but it does not exclude those allegations investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. This provides a critical misrepresentation of the scale and reality of complaints received that relate to our PSO members.

While the report acknowledges an increase in PSO numbers over the period, it fails to properly contextualise the concurrent and exponential increase in PSO numbers that has been seen over the same period.

During the same period (2012-2015) due to government public safety commitments, the number of Transit PSO’s saw a ten-fold increase from 88 officers in 2012 to 940 officers in June 2015.

It follows that the number of public contacts, arrests and interactions that these members have had with offenders and others in the community increased similarly.

The report released today is an unfair representation of an issue that undermines the good work and standing that PSO’s have in the community.

When PSO’s work on the public transport system late at night they are often confronted by people who are drug and substance affected, often violent and uncooperative. Our members are often abused and assaulted doing their job protecting commuters.

This report also notes that some railway stations have a high number of reported use-of-force situations. This is not something that the Association finds surprising as these same suburbs have also seen dramatic increases in recorded crime.

Fighting crime is not a picnic, and we know that when you are arresting people, the use of force is sometimes an unfortunate necessity.

We have already made public comment today to support our Transit PSO members who do an outstanding job protecting the travelling public every day.

Police Association offices to remain open during holiday period

To ensure that The Police Association remains as accessible as possible to members during the busy Christmas and New Year holiday period, we will remain open right through, except the public holidays.

We will still be available to take any urgent calls for assistance and advice on public holidays and outside business hours through our after-hours member-response service.

Members requiring urgent support due to being involved in a critical incident or because of a personal crisis are particularly encouraged to call for urgent assistance and advice at anytime of the day or night by calling 1800 800 537.

On behalf of all of us at TPAV, I take this opportunity to wish all members and their families a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.

Ron Iddles OAM, APM

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