IT’S been one month since Protective Service Officers (PSOs) began patrolling the Ballarat train station.
If public feedback is anything to go by, they are doing one hell of a job.
The Courier spoke to a range of commuters on Wednesday, most of whom said the PSOs were making them feel safer and happier.
One commuter summed up the public’s general consensus when he said: “I feel safe on the trains again”.
Speaking to the officers themselves, it’s clear the Ballarat train station is now safer after dark.
“It’s been good, the public have accepted us very well,” said PSO Nick Derecki on Wednesday.
“There’s been a few problems, but nothing we can’t handle.”
Armed with a semi-automatic pistol, pepper spray, baton and handcuffs, none of the five officers have had to use any of those tools yet.
Working from 6pm until the last train leaves, one of the biggest parts of the job is “making people feel safe”.
“Often it’s walking people to their cars when it’s dark,” Mr Derecki said.
“That’s what we’re trying to achieve.
“(To) make everyone feel safer, and make the place a better place to be.”
Fellow PSO Lachie Worn said the most common problem was drunks and people drinking at the station.
“We see that a lot,” he said.
“We’ve already made one arrest for being drunk.”
Asked about drugs and drug dealing, Mr Worn said it wasn’t a big issue.
“We’re aware of it,” he said.
“But we haven’t seen any use of drugs or drug dealing yet, but it could happen.”
Mr Worn told the story of one elderly woman who recently summed up the role of PSOs.
“She told me she used to travel to Melbourne to see shows at night,” he said.
“And she’d stopped because she didn’t feel safe on the trains at night.
“But now she’s back going to her plays and things because we’re here. That was some good feedback.”