Police Minister Bob Cameron must explain whether staff shortages contributed to police reportedly taking about 25 minutes to respond when a train commuter was allegedly threatened by a knife-wielding teenager yesterday, Shadow Minister for Police and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.
“It is an extremely serious matter if acute police shortages forced this commuter to
single-handedly restrain his alleged attacker by the wrist for a prolonged period of time before help arrived,” Mr Ryan said.
A teenager has been charged with assault and carrying a prohibited weapon after a commuter was threatened with a knife yesterday morning after asking a teenager to remove his feet from a seat.
Fellow commuters say the victim was also repeatedly kicked in the back by another passenger while he held his alleged attacker’s wrist.
“If police took a further 25 minutes to respond to the incident once the train arrived at Keon Park train station, that is unacceptable,” Mr Ryan said.
“The increasing frequency of violent assaults, robberies and bashings on trains and at train stations in Melbourne and throughout regional Victoria is alarming.
“Commuters should be able to travel on public transport without fearing for their own safety, but chronic police understaffing has made that virtually impossible.”
Mr Ryan said the Brumby Government had failed in its duty of care, leaving Victorians exposed to increasing violence.
“John Brumby’s promise to make Victoria safer lacks credibility without additional police and resources to tackle spiralling violent crime,” Mr Ryan said.
“The Coalition will put 100 more Transit Safety Division police on the network around the clock to protect Victorian commuters from violent crime.
“Police do a mighty job with the resources they have available, but they need to be properly supported by the government and at the moment that is simply not happening.
“John Brumby and Police Minister Bob Cameron will continue to jeopardise the safety of Victorians as long as they fail to recruit more frontline police to address rising crime levels,” Mr Ryan said.