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GANG members are getting a free ride on Melbourne’s public transport, with ticket inspectors being ordered not to chase the fare-evading thugs.
Workers have been told to let the brazen youths — who barge through or simply jump ticket barriers — go free, fearing they will turn violent if confronted.
Authorised officers have been instructed they must put their safety first and avoid the risk of physical attacks.
Police have found large groups of known gang members standing on city rail platforms, all without myki cards, waiting to catch trains.
“They had simply jumped over ticketing barriers or strolled through open turnstiles without resistance from intimidated staff,” said a police source who investigates Melbourne’s street gangs.
Workers have been told to let the brazen youths go free.“The staff have been told not to confront them.”
Scared staff — mindful of the no-pursuit policy — are also turning a blind eye to other misconduct by groups of youths, the Sunday Herald Sun has been told.
A summit between the Rail Train and Bus Union and several government departments was held on Friday after the union claimed conflicting messages about the new policy, but no outcome was reached.
Union state secretary Luba Grigorovitch claimed PTV still wanted staff to give chase.
“PTV has been dragging the chain for too long. The authorised officers deserve to have a clear directive,” she said.
Inspectors are turning a blind eye as gang members hurdle the gates.
“They do a really tough job and need the support of PTV and the companies (Metro, V/Line and Yarra Trams). Members are concerned and confused because at times it is hands-off and other times it is go chase,” she said.
Metro spokeswoman Sammie Black said staff were trained to deal with situations “effectively” but denied any new directive.
“Our authorised officers have always used their discretion based on the situation,” she said.
“As safety for all our employees and our customers is our highest priority, if at any time a pursuit of an offender puts any person at risk of injury, the authorised officer will abandon the pursuit.”
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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