Authorised Officers and Protective Services Officers
Why we cannot look at complaints about Protective Service Officers
Protective Service Officers (PSOs) provide specialist protective services for the general public at metropolitan and major regional railway stations from 6.00pm until the last train of the evening, seven days a week.
While on duty at train stations, PSOs have a number of powers which include:
- Arrest and detain - including arrest for drunk and disorderly offences
- Search people and property - and seize items such as weapons and alcohol
- Issue on-the-spot fines (infringement notices) - including for graffiti offences
- Issue a direction to 'move on' from the area.
PSOs are recruited, trained and employed by Victoria Police. Victoria Police is not a member of the PTO, therefore we are unable to look at complaints about PSOs.
You can make a complaint about a PSO to:
Victoria Police – The Police Conduct Unit (complaints and compliments), Ethical Standards Department.
Telephone: 1300 363 101
Public transport operators employ Authorised Officers (AOs) to perform a range of functions, including checking tickets, providing information, assistance and customer service and deterring anti-social behaviour. AOs have broad statutory powers to inspect tickets, issue penalty fares, request a person supply a name and address, report a person for transport infringements, confiscate tickets, remove a person from public transport infrastructure and to arrest a person.
AOs are authorised by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (the Department). Prospective AOs are vetted by the Department and the operator during the recruitment process and receive specific and ongoing training. AOs are required to abide by the Code of Conduct for Public Transport Authorised Officers (AO Code of Conduct). You can find out more about AO accreditation and training and read the AO Code of Conduct here.
AN AO cannot perform their duties unless they have an approved identity card and badge issued by the Department. An AO must wear their ID badge in a clearly visible manner while on duty, unless they are working undercover. AOs must show their identity cards when requested by passengers.
We can look at most complaints about AOs, including complaints about:
- Failure to check tickets
- Issuing of penalty fares
- Failure to provide safety/security
- Customer service
- Provision of advice/information
- Privacy and identity verification
If you have a complaint about an issue which is not on this list, please contact us and we will tell you whether we can look at it for you.
Our shared jurisdiction with the Victorian Ombudsman
We share jurisdiction for AO complaints with the Victorian Ombudsman. Under the agreement between our offices, we will refer complaints about the following issues to the Victorian Ombudsman:
- Use of excessive force
- Unlawful restraint
- Injury caused by an AO
- Police involvement other than to verify identification
- Potential prosecution by the Department following an interaction with an AO.
Complaints referred to the Victorian Ombudsman are recorded in our case management system and are included in our annual reports.