A Matthew Guy Liberal Nationals Government will introduce Protective Services Officers (PSOs) to patrol the Little Bridge Street bus interchange and surrounding area, including the Bridge Mall.
The Liberals election commitment is for a 7 day a week PSO presence from 11am until 7pm – the time of day the Ballarat community believes PSOs are most needed.
The bus interchange on Little Bridge Street has become a hot spot for crime, with many recent shocking incidents of violence and anti-social behaviour.
Shadow Minister for Police, Edward O’Donohue MP, said the precinct had developed a reputation for being unsafe, leading to commuters and shoppers avoiding the area.
“People in Ballarat deserve to feel safe going about their daily lives. The introduction of PSO patrols to Little Bridge Street, and the Bridge Mall, will ensure people feel safe again,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“Under Daniel Andrews, crime in Ballarat is up 12%, yet the number of police attached to the Ballarat Police Service Area has been cut by 14%.”
“James Merlino previously compared PSOs as “plastic police,” but the Liberal Nationals respect the invaluable work that PSOs do in keeping our railway stations, courts and other precincts safe. Now is the right time to expand their role to other transport hubs and crime hot spots such as Little Bridge St and surrounds” Mr O’Donohue said.
Liberal Candidate for Wendouree, Amy Johnson, said the policy of expanding the role of PSOs, introduced by the previous Liberal Government, would make the community safer.
“We’ve seen the positive impact PSOs have had on public safety and perceptions of safety at the Ballarat Railway Station. Now we need to address the crime and anti-social behaviour occurring in the Bridge Mall and Little Bridge Street,” Ms Johnson said.
Liberal Candidate for Buninyong, Andrew Kilmartin, said he constantly hears from the Ballarat community that the current situation in Little Bridge St and Bridge Mall has gotten out of hand.
“Commuters and shoppers alike regularly tell me they now avoid the Little Bridge Street bus interchange as they feel unsafe. PSOs patrolling the area will make this area safer,” Mr Kilmartin said.