Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mount Druitt - St Marys Star Police Officers/ Transit Officers Future Safety For Commuters

Here is the story by Greater Western Sydney Community Sector  - 'Journalism' nominee - Kylie Stevens 

In go the police, out go transit officers

27 Feb, 2012 01:00 AM
PLANS for more police and fewer state transit officers on the transport system have sparked mixed reaction.
Liberal state Mulgoa MP Tanya Davies and Londonderry colleague Bart Bassett welcomed the recent decision to establish the NSW Police Transport Command.
The 300 officers now attached to the Commuter Crime Unit will form the core of the new command. By the end of 2014 the command would have 610 officers.
Most of the 600 State Transit officers will have four options: volunteer for redundancy, apply to train for the police, redeployment within RailCorp or apply for one of 150 positions retained.State transit officers don't have as much power as the police do.

Mrs Davies said a "scary" encounter with a drug-affected passenger on a train two years ago prompted her to learn self-defence."I feel a sense of relief whenever I see police walking through the train," she said.

NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Alex Claassens believes commuters will be dangerously exposed to a higher risk of crime and violence."Western suburbs commuters should be alarmed by the state government's plan to slash the number of security staff patrolling the RailCorp network," he said."What's more, if NSW Police is dealing with an emergency somewhere else, the transit police will be taken off the network completely and deployed to other duties."

Mount Druitt Labor MP Richard Amery echoed those concerns and said he feared the change would take police away from other streets. Mr Amery, a former policeman, described the policy as a cost-cutting measure."The trains may be safer but what about the general community like shopping centres and our streets?" he said.

Linda Haywood posted this comment on the Star's Facebook page: "They have enough trouble filling police stations now, let alone putting them on trains. Train the transit police by all means if that's what they want. But don't take them out of our stations. We have enough trouble now getting things done when we need it."

Mrs Davies and Mr Bassett said police would not be taken away from general duties. It is predicted the NSW Police Force will have 300 extra officers by the end of 2014.

Mount Druitt Commuters Improvement Group president John Svoboda agreed with the policy."If anything, it will improve safety and encourage more people to use public transport," he said.

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