Victoria Police will redeploy at least 160 Protective Services Officers (PSOs) and 80 police officers each night to commercial retail precincts to prevent crime and provide reassurance to the public during these unprecedented times.
As part of Operation Shielding, PSOs and police will be deployed in teams to patrol areas normally bustling with people, including the Melbourne CBD, South Yarra, St Kilda and suburban precincts such as Geelong, Dandenong, Box Hill and Doncaster.
The highly visible teams of PSOs and police will ensure essential workers and the community can feel safe when they are going to and from work, buying essential supplies or attending health clinics.
They will also assist in preventing opportunistic crimes on businesses that are doing the right thing and have closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said the reduction of people using public transport has allowed Victoria Police to redeploy PSOs and police to the areas they are needed most.
“Victoria Police is constantly reviewing its plans to ensure resources are deployed to the right place at the right time to best support the community,” Deputy Commissioner Patton said.
“We still need to provide a PSO presence on the public transport network, which we will do at the busiest 83 stations and via 25 mobile patrols that will patrol the trains and stations that are not permanently staffed.
“However, given public transport patronage is down up to 90 per cent, it is important we redeploy our PSOs during this State of Emergency so we can deter crime and provide public reassurance in key retail precincts.
“While these precincts are normally extremely busy, there are now only a few shops open and significantly less foot traffic, which often leads to people feeling unsafe.
“Although many Victorians are staying at home, our essential workers who are at the forefront of this outbreak are still travelling to and from work.
“We need to keep these people safe so they can continue to protect the health of Victorians and ensure we have essential supplies.”
The additional 240 PSOs and police on the streets will also assist in preventing any opportunistic crimes on businesses already impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are concerned commercial burglaries will increase during this period, so the new patrols will help support the many business owners who are more vulnerable to break ins,” Deputy Commissioner Patton said.
“In addition to the Shielding teams, police right across the state have committed significant resources to proactive night patrols in their local commercial retail precincts to detect and deter crime.”
The new PSO and police foot patrols will commence this Thursday and will be performed seven days a week from the early afternoon to morning during the State of Emergency.
During this time, PSOs have been empowered to operate outside of transport hubs and can make arrests or intervene breaches of the peace while patrolling the streets.
A list of where the new teams will be deployed are as follows:
• Melbourne Central/QV
• Bourke Street, Melbourne
• Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre
• Sunshine Marketplace/Sunshine Plaza Shopping Centre
• Chapel St, Prahran
• Dandenong Main CBD, Dandenong Armanda Plaza, Dandenong HUB and Palm Plaza
• Acland and Fitzroy Streets, St Kilda and abutting foreshore
• Central Frankston, Bayside Shopping Centre and foreshore areas
• Box Hill Shopping Centre
• The Glen Shopping Centre
A list of the 83 train stations which will continue to be permanently patrolled by PSOs can be found on the Victoria Police website – https://www.police.vic.gov.au/train-stations-permanently-patrolled-duri…