Public safety will improve for train travellers in Melbourne’s outer east with the deployment of Protective Services Officers (PSOs) to Mooroolbark rail station.

Local MP David Hodgett visited the PSOs during their induction at Mooroolbark station today.

Mr Hodgett said the PSOs would protect commuters from crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.

“PSOs are making a difference to public safety and people who use Mooroolbark station on the Lilydale and Belgrave lines will benefit from their presence,” Mr Hodgett said.

From Tuesday 25 February 2014, PSOs will be deployed to Yarraman, Prahran, Mooroolbark, Belgrave, Huntingdale, Armadale, and Carnegie railway stations.

“We’ve had PSOs working on the public transport network since February 2012, and a total of 657 PSOs have now been deployed across 92 stations, where they patrol from 6pm until after the last train every night.”

“The PSOs will keep commuters safe by patrolling the train platform, car parks and surrounds to prevent anti-social behaviour, property damage, and alcohol and transport related crime,” Mr Hodgett said.

PSOs have issued more than 20,000 infringement notices for a wide range of offences, including being drunk in a public place, possessing alcohol, graffiti and possession of weapons.

“PSOs have powers to detain anyone who threatens public safety, confiscate weapons and issue fines, they are also trained in conflict resolution and dealing with vulnerable people.”

“People who use trains have told us that they welcome the presence of PSOs at train stations. They make people feel safe when travelling at night,” Mr Hodgett said.

The Victorian Government had committed to recruiting and deploying 940 PSOs to the rail network by November 2014 as part of a $212 million investment.

“As well as 940 PSOs, an additional 1700 frontline police officers are being recruited, which represents the largest single law enforcement recruitment exercise in Victoria’s history,” Mr Hodgett said.

“Recruitment has far outstripped expectations and more than two-thirds of the government’s total commitment of 940 Protective Services Officers have now graduated from the Victoria Police Academy.”

Mr Hodgett said the Victoria Police PSO recruitment campaign ‘Are you ready to stand out?’ continued to deliver excellent results.

“Thirty-four squads of PSOs have now graduated from the Victoria Police Academy for deployment to the rail network, and I urge anybody who is considering a career as a PSO to visit the Victoria Police website and register for an information session,” Mr Hodgett said.

Mr Hodgett said the presence of PSOs helped commuters feel safer using rail stations at night.

“I am pleased that commuters who use the busy Mooroolbark station will now feel safer knowing they are protected by PSOs,” he said.