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The number of violent weapon offences on Adelaide’s train network has more than doubled over the past two years, Freedom of Information documents reveal.
The Opposition has obtained data from the Transport Department that shows the number of knife incidents on metropolitan trains has risen from four in 2018 to 10 in 2020.
In 2019, there were two incidents involving a gun, and a person was stabbed with a syringe.
Last year two people were stabbed with an unknown weapon.
Labor says the increase in “observed or threatened” knife incidents coincides with the state government’s decision to axe regular nightly security guard patrols on the Belair, Tonsley and Grange train lines in 2019.
Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis said everyone who caught trains in Adelaide “rightly expects they will be safe”.
Opposition transport spokesman Tom Koutsantonis.
“These alarming figures show the utter failure of the Marshall Liberal Government to keep people safe from crimes involving offensive weapons, especially knives,” he said.
“We need to ensure our trains are as safe as possible, which will encourage more people to use public transport.”
Transport Minister Corey Wingard said no incidence of violence on public transport was acceptable.
“We’ve been forced to roll out the rail security contract put in place by the former Labor government in 2017 when Stephen Mullighan was minister – Part of that was less guards on trains to establish rapid response units,” he said.
“However, since taking over the operating of the train network, Keolis Downer has actually doubled the number of security guards on trains after 7pm from around 30 to approximately 60.”
Passengers on an Adelaide train. Picture: Dean Martin
Mr Koutsantonis said axing security guards was not a requirement of the 2017 contract.
When Stephan Knoll was the transport minister in 2019, he revealed regular nightly patrols on the Belair, Tonsley and Grange lines would be scrapped from July 1 that year as part of the third phase of the rail security contract.
He justified the decision by saying there were only two incidents on the Belair line in 2017/18.
Mr Knoll said the third phase of the contract – which also resulted in an increase in the number of roving guards, who moved between trains, trams and buses, from four to 16 – would “deliver a more responsive security system to keep South Australians safe on public transport”.
Keolis Downer took over the operation of the metropolitan train network at the end of January under an eight-year contract, with an option of a four-year extension.
The total value of the contract over 12 years is $2.14 billion.
The government continues to control the infrastructure and ticket pricing under the deal.
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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