TRANSIT officers on Sydney's transport network are expected to be replaced with police officers, amid fears of a reduction in security patrols on trains and buses.
The Government had resisted axing the officers but a proposal to phase them out and use police officers on trains, buses and ferries is expected to go to cabinet on Tuesday.
A transport police command will be created to control the force's existing commuter crime unit and the duties of RailCorp's 600 transit security officers.
A specialist unit will also be created to crack down on commuters who do not buy tickets.
The transit officers will be redeployed to other sections of the public service, offered voluntary redundancies or given the option of joining the NSW Police Force.
The Opposition said transit officers lacked powers to arrest and detain but warned that commuters could be exposed to less security if the officers were not replaced with adequate police numbers.
The Opposition police spokesman, Mike Gallacher, said the result of the Government's plans could be fewer patrols on trains rather than more.
"It's always been my position that policing, whether on our roads or on our trains, should be undertaken by police [because] only police are accorded the powers to arrest and detain and to effectively enforce the law," he said.
"While the details of the Government's plans are still unknown, we do know that their new push to reincorporate transit policing into the NSW Police Force is an admission that they have been wrong on commuter safety all along."
Mr Gallacher said he was concerned that transit officers would be allowed to transfer into the force without qualifying and completing their training at the police academy in Goulburn.
"We will not accept a circumstance where the former transit officer recruits are allowed to be counted among the 750 extra officers the NSW Labor Government committed at the last election," Mr Gallacher said.
A spokesman for the Police Minister, Tony Kelly, said he could not comment on cabinet matters, while a spokesman for the Transport Minister, David Campbell, said the Government had not made any final decision on the future of transit officers.
"The NSW Government is committed to making our transport system safer [and] the NSW Police Force works co-operatively with RailCorp and other agencies to achieve this," the spokesman said.
"Transport authorities and police have discussed options for further enhancement of the security model."
The Opposition's transport spokeswoman, Gladys Berejiklian, said assaults on public transport were at an all-time high, with almost 1500 people attacked in 2007-08.
"Now is not the time to be cutting policing measures on public transport," Ms Berejiklian said.
"An independent transport safety and reliability report survey in personal safety throughout the public transport network demonstrates the State Labor Government's complete failure to deal with rail safety.
"People will only use public transport if they feel it's clean, safe and reliable, and a reduction in the security personnel on trains, buses and ferries won't help."