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Who are protective services officers?

Protective services officers (PSOs) are armed officers who are not sworn members of the police force. Their powers are similar to those of police officers, but are restricted to particular places, (such as railway stations) and to the hours when they are on active duty.

They carry weapons and their powers include search, seize, apprehension and arrest. They may also require a person to give their name and address and to produce documents (such as identification).

See 'What powers do PSOs have?' (link below)

Recruitment and training

Protective services officers must successfully complete a 12-week training course at the Police Academy. They must take an oath of office before they can start work. Like police, Protective services officers must review their weapons training every 6 months. These officers have to be of good character. They also have to have passed health, general intelligence, literacy and fitness tests.

PSOs have been working in Victoria for 23 years

Some PSOs have been employed in Victoria since 1988. There are 144 officers already employed to guard some significant public places like the Shrine of Remembrance, courts and tribunals, the Department of Justice and Regulation building and some police buildings. The changes will give all PSOs who are on duty (whether they are working at a railway station or not), the power to arrest a person who is wanted under a warrant.

How can they be identified?

These officers wear uniforms that look almost identical to those worn by police. PSOs have gold epaulettes (decorative shoulder straps) and although they wear white shirts for formal occasions, at other times they will wear dark blue shirts, just like the police.

The main way to tell the difference is by their hat bands. PSOs have gold and navy checkered bands on their hats (where police are navy and white). Their uniforms will have the Victoria police logo and each officer will wear a name tag and a unique identification number.

Protective services officers also carry identification with them when they are on duty. They must show this to any person who asks.

More information

Legislation

Victoria Police Regulations 2014 (Vic)

  • r. 27—prescribes the designated places where the officers have powers to act

See Victoria Police Regulations 2014 (Vic).

Reference

The explanatory memorandum and reading speeches on the Bill homepage give background about the government's aims in establishing the roles of protective services officers.

See Justice Legislation Amendment (Protective Services Officers) Bill 2011 (Vic).

PSO administration office

Details about their uniforms is from a conversation with the Administration office of Protective Services at Victoria Police, 7 December, 2011. The changes to PSO uniforms was made in December 2012.

Updated