Petition to stop ticket inspectors' violence
An online petition, which has attracted more than 35,000 signatures, calls for Metro train inspectors to be offered anti-violence training.PT0M39S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-34b7p 620 349 March 7, 2014
An online petition started in response to an incident in which a Metro Trains ticket inspector ''body-slammed'' a 15-year-old girl at Flinders Street Station has attracted 35,000 signatures and thousands of messages condemning the act.
The change.org petition, started in December by environmental consultant Dan A'Vard, calls on Metro Trains to take a stand against violence as a way of managing fare evaders and difficult customers.
But Metro has stood by the officer and pressed assault charges against the girl, who lives in residential care, for allegedly striking the officer in the face.
Video footage of the incident shows the girl trying to sneak past the ticket barrier without paying, before officers surround her and one hurls her to the ground.
Mr A'Vard said it was ''unthinkable'' that the ticket inspectors - known as authorised officers - have the same powers of enforcement and arrest as protective services officers, but receive half the training; six weeks compared with 12 weeks for PSOs.
He wants Metro to call the officer to account and to provide anti-violence training to all officers. ''In this instance it is a young girl who is completely mismatched in any kind of physical confrontation with a grown man who does this for a living,'' he said.
''If there was a need for the girl to be restrained she didn't need to be thrown on her head,'' he said.
Metro Trains declined to comment.
The incident came four months after two V/Line officers pinned a frail 62-year-old man to a Sunbury train platform for nine minutes with his trousers around his knees after he was caught drinking on a train.
The Victorian Ombudsman, George Brouwer, investigated and in a scathing report released in February he found the officers had used excessive force.
The Victorian secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Luba Grigorovitch, said internal investigations found authorised officers ''acted reasonably and in accordance with company policy''.
The Ombudsman also recommended that the Department of Transport review the training provided to officers on the use of restraints.
A spokeswoman for the department said: ''Incidents involving authorised officers are rare, and we take them very seriously. The department has accepted the recommendations of the Ombudsman and will be working with [Public Transport Victoria] and operators to implement them and further strengthen the processes for authorised officer training and management of volatile situations.''