Have you ever wondered what lurks inside the blue and white buildings that have appeared at most railway stations across Melbourne? They are used by Protective Services Officers once they start duty at 6 PM every night, and cost a shitload of money to build.
A look inside
This presentation from the ‘Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure’ (DTPLI) given an inventory of what is inside the average Protective Services Officer office.
First off they have a desk and a phone for completing paperwork.
And a kitchenette.
So PSOs posted to the middle of nowhere can have a warm cup of tea on a cold Melbourne night?
Then to the side, an internal door leading to what is officially known as the ‘handover room’.
In reality the ‘handover room’ is a holding cell where Protective Services Officers lock up the people they arrest, until a sworn Victoria Police officer is able to attend. They are easy to spot from the outside – the same style of ‘NO ENTRY’ sign appears on each one.
Now I’ve just got to travel around Melbourne and collect them all!
They can try and hide them by painting them different colours.
By cladding them in weatherboards and adding a gabled roof to the top, when a railway station is heritage listed.
Retrofitting them into existing heritage structures.
Or inside 1980s brown brick abominations.
But if you know what to look for, they stand out like dogs balls.
Originally $17 million was allocated in May 2012 to fund the construction of facilities for Protective Services Officers at 66 railway stations around the network, at an average of $268,000 per station.
The 2013 budget allocated an extra $67 million in funding to build another 149 structures, with the average cost rising to $455,000 per station.
$2.5 million has also been allocated each year in cleaning expenses – around $12,000 per pod per year, and the toilets aren’t even open for the public!
And graffiti removal
Turns out putting a symbol of ‘The Man’ at every railway station attracts vandals – according to The Age around 20 of them are graffitied every month.
On the nickname
I’m a fan of the ‘Baillieu Box’ nickname – it commemorates Ted Baillieu, the former Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu who decided that putting two ‘almost’ police officers on every railway station after 6 PM would win votes for the Liberal Party.