Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay, talking about deployment of Protective Service Officers on stations:
“From time to time they will check tickets. When these PSOs see a group of young people that they believe are up to no good on a railway station a really helpful tool is to say, ‘Show me your ticket’. If they haven’t got a ticket, off they go,” he said.
He denied they would be equipped with Myki card readers.
— Herald Sun online — Footscray station next stop for PSOs
The problem here is that without Myki readers, there is no way that the PSOs can tell if a Myki card is valid. They can’t tell if it has any credit loaded on it, they can’t tell if it has been touched-on.
PSOs having the ability to do ticket checks does make sense. Chief Commissioner Lay is right; it is a useful tool to help ensure people on a railway station are actually there to catch a train. And given officers will eventually patrol quiet stations with little or no crime, they might as well check tickets.
But a ticket check where you can’t tell if someone is fare-evading or not is not much of a ticket check.
And the requirement for being on a station is not just “a ticket” but “a valid ticket”.
Along with the statistics showing that around half of all assaults on stations occur before 6pm when PSOs won’t be on duty, it’s just another one of these things which suggests to me the PSOs plan has not been properly thought through.