Melbourne, June 9: The Andrews Labor Government is getting more police back on the frontline to protect train travellers with an extra 39 Police Custody Officers (PCOs) now on duty.

Visiting the Melbourne West Police Station today, Police Minister Lisa Neville said the new squads of custody officers would have a significant impact on police resources across Victoria.

“Custody officers provide a major boost to police resources by allowing sworn officers to do what they do best – fight crime and protect the community,” Ms Neville said.

Sale and Mill Park police stations have welcomed their first batch of custody officers this week. Extra officers have also been deployed to other stations including Broadmeadows, Bendigo, Sunshine and Frankston.

PCOs are now working at 21 of the state’s busiest police stations, freeing up police to do what they were trained to do – fight crime and protect the community.

The Victorian Government has invested $148.6 million to recruit, train and deploy 400 custody officers at 22 police stations. The rollout has been fast-tracked, with full deployment expected by the end of 2017.

Their duties include managing prisoners in police cells, supervising offenders, transporting people between court and police stations, and administrative duties to support police.

The Victorian Budget 2016/17 delivered a boost to police resources, with funding for 406 new sworn police, crime fighting technology and equipment, and upgrades to police stations.

The Government has so far funded 1156 police personnel and stated that the government will continue to work closely with the Chief Commissioner to deliver the required resources.

Ms Neville promised to “provide police the resources, powers, equipment and support they need to fight crime and protect the community, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Shalini Singh

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