Bob's Railway Police Interview
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 or platforms 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 that happens on the general street, would happen on the railway.
No fixed address is a problem because 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 in some cases. 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 more are a bit more disrespectful towards law enforcement or even their own parents. I feel more and more kids are truanting a lot more, drinking at a younger age, also they’re getting drugs a lot cheaper and that really impends on their behaviour and 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 and 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.
Last update in 2016 - Bob retired from his position in the Central Monitoring Room Unit (CCTV surveillance for Perth public transport), still as a Railway Police Special Constable role (now known as Transit Guards) and happily runs a lovely cafe with his wife, some 72km from Perth.