Since 2012 the Victorian Liberal Government has been deploying Protective Services Officers to railway stations across the Melbourne suburban network, and as of this week we have a total of 682 PSOs patrolling 104 Melbourne railway stations – or so says the self congratulatory media release.
With 207 stations to be guarded between 6pm and last train each night, a total of 940 officers have to be recruited and trained to meet the target date of November 2014 – so how is the program actually tracking?
The idea of Protective Services Officers at railway stations was first proposed by then-opposition leader Ted Baillieu in November 2009, as part of a pledge made in the leadup to the 2010 Victorian State Election.
Originally costed at $200 million over four years, by 2011 the cost of the program had increased to $212 million, as well as an additional $85 million to provide upgraded facilities at each railway station to house the deployed PSOs – $18 million in the 2012/13 State Budget, and $67.8 million for 149 station refits in the 2013/14 State Budget.
Another money pit for the program is advertising – in January 2013 a three month long marketing campaign costing $2.7 million was launched to help recruit additional PSOs, which followed $2.67 million spent on advertising in 2012, as well as $1 million in fees paid to recruiters.
So what did over $5 million worth of marketing get us?
Television commercials that make catching a train look more dangerous than it actually is:
Advertisements in the newspaper:
Billboards beside freeways:
Posters onboard trains:
And even recruitment booths outside railway stations during the evening peak:
How is the rollout tracking?
Melbourne’s first group of Protective Services Officers were deployed on February 22, 2012 to Flinders Street and Southern Cross stations, with other stations on the network following.
I’ve been tracking the rollout across Melbourne with a spreadsheet – the government usually issues a media release each time PSOs are deployed to a new station, mentioning the current number of officers across the network, as well as the number of stations covered.
The result is this graph showing the number of Melbourne suburban railway stations that have PSOs deployed to them. Note the 207 stations to be covered by the target date of November 2014:
A second graph shows the current number of PSOs deployed across the network – again note the target of 940 officers and the upcoming November 2014 deadline.
Looks like Denis Napthine’s Liberal Government are going to have throw some big money at the program if they want to meet their November 2014 targets!
Here is the raw data in Google Spreadsheet format – inside you will find the date that PSOs were deployed to each station, the number of active PSOs across the network on that date, and the original source of the data.
- Baillieu pledges police at every station: November 9, 2009
- Just a shot in the dark, but train travel can’t be that dangerous: September 27, 2011
- More than $85 million to be spent for toilets and workspaces for protective services officers: May 12, 2013
- $2.7m pledge to recruit more PSOs: January 20, 2013
- $2.7m police ad blitz to recruit protective services officers: January 09, 2013
February 2016 update
On 24 February 2016 the Victorian Auditor-General’s released their report Public Safety on Victoria’s Train System – with Appendix A featuring a list of PSO deployment dates – the first 177 stations up until June 2015.