Transport Minister Eric Charlton today announced major initiatives to bolster security for passengers riding the urban train system.
He said Westrail would put more special constables on the trains and at stations to crack down on anti-social behaviour and it was implementing other security measures to further protect the public.
"By September this year there will be 111 special constables riding the trains as part of a comprehensive plan to combat hooligans and make train travel safer, more comfortable and enjoyable for all users," Mr Charlton said.
Mr Charlton said there were currently 89 highly-trained special constables spread across the urban passenger train network and the additonal personnel would allow regular patrols on the daytime services as well.
"There have been recurring problems with Aboriginal offenders on the Midland and Armadale lines and Westrail has appointed a further three aboriginal liaison officers who will commence duty from April 6," he said.
The Minister said the security upgrade included the co-ordination of police and Westrail communications and:
· involvement of police in random checks of railway stations and car parks;
· inclusion of special constables in educational visits to schools; and -
· assistance of police to apprehend offenders.
"The relocation in June of the Perth City Council Monitoring Centre and the police post to the Perth central railway station should also provide a major boost in public security," he said.
Other security measures would be the installation by December this year of public telephones near all railway stations and special emergency telephones on all platforms linked to a central monitoring point.
Westrail would install physical barriers at Perth railway station as control points for checking tickets and by December have video surveillance equipment at Perth central and a further nine suburban stations. There would be upgrades of equipment at Westrail's three current sites.
By 2002 all fixed video surveillance equipment throughout the network would be linked via fibre optic cable to a central monitoring base.
Westrail also planned to establish secured car parks at Currambine, Whitfords, Stirling, and Midland railway stations. The viability of operating secured car parks at Cannington and Kenwick stations would also be examined.
Mr Charlton said that five new two-railcar suburban trains to be delivered later this year and early next year would be equipped with two security video surveillance cameras in each railcar to provide improved picture coverage.
Security camera coverage in the current fleet of railcars would gradually be upgraded.
"We have put in place a program to deal with anti-social behaviour and one of the key elements will come in July this year with the launch of a public awareness campaign aimed at primary and high school students," he said.
"We want to highlight all aspects of travelling on the urban rail system, including personal safety and to provide comprehensive information about the wide range of security measures put in place by Westrail.
"There were 29 million passenger boardings on the urban rail system last year and we want to continue to educate people to use the system in a safe and trouble-free manner.
"We also want to sound a warning that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated."
Media Contact: Doug Cunningham 9321 7333