Message from the Chief Commissioner

About Victoria Police

Protective Services Officers (PSOs)

Release date: Mon 20 February 2012

Last updated: Fri 14 July 2017

The Protective Services Unit (PSU) is Victoria Police's specialist provider of security services. The PSU was established following a 1986 security review and formally commenced operations on 1 May, 1988. A member of the Protective Services Unit is known as a Protective Services Officer (PSO).

PSOs (Security) 

PSOs have specific powers under several statutes that primarily cover areas where they are deployed, in addition to the legislated 'citizen arrest' authority. 

PSOs are appointed to the Protective Services Unit and are then assigned to any unit deployment or task, subject to operational needs, including the following areas:

  • Melbourne's Supreme Court, County Court, Children's Court and Magistrates' Court 
  • Various suburban Magistrates' Courts
  • Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal 
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet 
  • Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation
  • Parliament House Victoria 
  • Government House
  • The Shrine of Remembrance
  • Victoria Police Centre
  • Spencer Street Police Complex

PSOs (Transit)

Protective Services Officers (PSOs) are based on the Victorian railway network and are deployed to support the community and make Victorian railways safer for all users.

PSOs are focused on addressing incidents of anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drug related offences, weapon offences, property damage and crimes against the person.

Government legislation ensures that Protective Services Officers (PSOs) have the necessary powers to reduce crime, violence and anti-social behaviour at train stations.

There are differences in terms of what PSOs will be able to do and what police can do. PSOs will be fully trained to apprehend, detain, remove or impede offenders at train stations and in the vicinity of the train station.

While on duty at train stations, PSOs have a number of powers which include:

  • Request name and address
  • Arrest and detain persons
  • Search people and property - and seize items such as weapons, graffiti implements and alcohol
  • Issue infirngement notices
  • Issue a direction to 'move on' from the area.



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