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Victoria Police will target violent offenders on Melbourne's rail network with a "saturation operations" blitz on train lines over the coming weeks, Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said today.
Under the safety push, a mixture of uniformed and plain-clothes police officers will take over whole train lines, patrolling known troublespots in a bid to curb anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related problems.
Mr Overland said the first operation, due to begin in the coming weeks, will involve about 200 police officers.
"In the next couple of weeks, I'm not going to say exactly when, we've got some very, very big operations planned where we're going to take over whole lines," Mr Overland told Radio 3AW.
"[It's about] rebuilding confidence in the community to actually use the train system."
Mr Overland said operations would focus on lines with a history of problems.
"Often there are problems around particular stations, but we are going to continue the effort we have been making over the last number of months around really trying to improve both the safety and people's feeling of safety when they are using the train system," he said.
Mr Overland said police had consulted more than 500 businesses located near train stations on improving security.
"The operations we have been conducting have been right across the system," he said.
"But these new ones will be the whole line. So from end to end, we're going to take to the whole line over. It's going to be a high-visibility police operation over a protracted period of time."
But Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said safety on Melbourne's trains was an "every day" issue, not something to be targeted in high-profile and occasional crackdowns.
“Victorians suffering from violent attacks on the transport network want safe public transport every day, not John Brumby's occasional blitzes and crackdowns while crime soars," he saud
“A Baillieu Government will make public transport safe again by putting 940 armed uniformed officers on metropolitan and major regional train stations from 6pm to last train seven days a week and an extra 100 transit police on the network to protect Victorians using public transport.”
A spokesman for the Brumby government applauded the safety campaign.
“We’re glad Victorians are seeing more police on the beat and on their public transport networks,’’ he said.
‘‘The reason they’re seeing police run these operations is because the Labor Government has put record numbers of police in the force - and there are 1966 more frontline police on the way.”
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