The New South Wales Government has announced that the state’s police force will take over security for Sydney’s entire public transport network under a new dedicated Police Transport Command.
The new Police Transport Command (PTC) will see 610 dedicated police officers allocated to patrol trains, buses and ferries.
Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said the new police command will be created to bolster the state’s public transport network.
“The creation of the PTC will allow police to work more closely with the community to target those areas within our transport system where anti-social and criminal behaviour occurs,” Commissioner Scipione said.
Minister for police Michael Gallacher said the police will be trained to patrol in pairs, rather than transit officers who are routinely deployed in groups of three to five for safety reasons. Transit officers will focus on detecting fare evasion and minor compliance offences and their patrols will be expanded to cover buses and ferries.
“Improving safety and security requires a fundamentally different approach, and a well-led dedicated police command with the full complement of police powers will increase our ability to combat crime on the public transport network,” Gallacher said.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is determined to give police the powers, the resources and the backing they need to keep our community safe, and that includes protecting public transport passengers.”
Minister for transport Gladys Berejiklian said commuters wanted a strong police presence on the transport network as it was the best deterrent against crime.
“We are committed to making our public transport network as safe as possible,” Berejiklian said.
“We understand that feeling safe and secure is important to our customers, and that it is crucial to attracting more people to use public transport.
“Just as a police car on our roads puts drivers on their best behaviour, police officers patrolling our public transport network will serve as a deterrent against crime.
“While police will take the lead, transit officers will have their roles expanded to focus on fare evasion on buses and ferries as well as trains.”
Commissioner Scipione said recruitment processes would be completed by the end of 2014 when the PTC’s ranks will have grown to more than 600 officers, while 300 existing police officers currently attached to the Commuter Crime Unit will be available immediately.
“The great value of this new command is that police officers will come into contact with people who may have committed other more serious crimes,” he said
“It will enable the police to take into custody a lot of people wanted on other offences.
“Public transport, whether it’s rail, buses or ferries, are well-known as crime corridors used by criminals to go to commit a crime or to return from a crime.”’
The government’s increased police presence will build on existing security measures across Sydney’s rail network that include:
- 9300 CCTV cameras targeting crime and commuters safety
- 750 customer help points visible on CCTV which allow a person to communicate directly with CityRail staff
- 7000 high intensity lights