Bob's Railway Police Interview

10 July 2009

"Compared to 10 years ago, I think the violence is increasing."

I’ve been employed on the trains for 11 years. I’m a shift commander which is basically responding to all overall daily operations of the transit officers and tasking them. Previously I was a Special Constable on the old Westrail system.

We used to see anything from domestic violence on the trains to lost children, people who’ve had their bikes stolen from the platforms, assaults on public officers, stabbings and really anything that happens in the daily life of a police officer on the general street, would happen on the railway.

"No fixed address is a problem."

Obviously when they’ve got no fixed abode, we can’t really give them infringements as we can’t put an address down to follow it up if they don’t pay it. The only other thing that can happen to them, is to front up to the local police station depending on how serious it is of course and probably call the magistrate in the morning. Some are kept in overnight. If it’s something trivial or a verbal caution, we’ll send them on their way.

Compared to 10 years ago, I think the violence is increasing in some respects because people are getting more brazen. Not all of them but a lot are a bit more disrespectful towards law enforcement and even their own parents. I feel more and more kids are truanting a lot, drinking at a younger age. Also, they’re getting drugs a lot cheaper and that really impends on their behaviour. We have to deal with it accordingly.

We work closely with the Police Rail Unit and also the Southern Rail Unit on the Mandurah line. If we have a child we can’t deal with or people that commit an offence and have left railway property, then we get them to deal with it and follow up on it.

"We used to have trains running until 3 o’clock in the summer but we don’t run them anymore because all we found, is that we were taking drunks home, that’s all we were - a taxi service."

It allowed them to have more to drink and they were causing more problems on the railway. You have the last train that’s packed with 400 or 500 people with two officers on there and they were defenceless. The trains run fairly early as it is.

 

10 years ago, the trains stopped running at half eleven every single night of the week. Now it’s midnight every night except Friday and Saturday where it’s 2 am. It’s the only country I know where they runs trains that late. There’s not many countries, including the UK that run trains, especially after 9 or 10 o’clock at night and there’s a lot more people who tend to come out of London than there is in Perth.

In 2016, Bob retired from his position as a Transit Guard Supervisor in the Central Monitoring Room Unit (CCTV surveillance for the Perth Public Transport Authority) and now runs a cafe with his wife, some 72km from Perth.

© 2020 Delphine Jamet/Streetkid Industries