Police hope to recruit mothers to correct the gender imbalance among PSOs. Photo: John Woudstra
Police are trying to recruit mothers to increase the number of women working as Protective Services Officers.
But the inaugural Mums With Bubs information session will offer no special conditions to make the job more convenient.
Police and the police union say the late nights and rotating shifts could explain why women comprise just 9.5 per cent, or 55 of the current 586 PSOs, who patrol 83 railway stations.
PSOs work eight 10-hour shifts a fortnight, with six rest days. The roster changes each fortnight, and shifts start at either 4pm or 5pm and end at 2am or 3am.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies blamed the low percentage of women PSOs on non family-friendly hours.
"How many people want to work from 6pm [at stations] until the last train's gone, 10 hour shifts, four nights a week?" he said.
"It would suit some people; there's a lot of people it wouldn't suit, and perhaps women with young children don't feel the hours are friendly enough for them."
Senior Sergeant Davies said it was a good idea to attract more women to be PSOs. But he stopped short of calling for special treatment for mothers.
"It's one of those jobs where you can't change the hours, they're set as government policy, so it's going to be attractive to some, and unattractive to others."
Victoria Police Recruitment Services officer Rachel Brown said the hours could be one factor discouraging women from being PSOs.
"It goes back to individual circumstances and what can be managed on an individual basis. It might be manageable for some people. Or it might not be suitable for people this year, but it might be in a few years' time."
Asked if part-time work would be introduced for PSOs, she said: "At this stage there's no prospect. That's something that could be considered for the future."
Ms Brown said it was "desirable" to increase the 9.5 per cent figure, which was below the 25 per cent of the general police population, who were women.
"We're not alarmed by it but we certainly want to increase it so there's a more equal gender balance," she said.
"Our plan is to increase the diversity of our workforce, so it more greatly reflects the community that the members are serving."
Police aren't aiming for a specific number. "Potentially" it would be good to have half "but we're coming from a percentage of 9.5 per cent so that is a big-stretch target, if we were wanting to reach that it would take an investment of time".
The free Mums With Bubs session, is on from 10am on Thursday at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre in Preston.
At the Mums With Bubs session, a sergeant will outline PSO tasks, training and pay and take questions, and a woman PSO who has an 18-year-old daughter will speak about her experiences.
A police media spokeswoman said Mums With Bubs won't offer different conditions to other PSO applicants.
"No deals or concessions will be made to attract female applicants who have children," she said.
"While Victoria Police happily works with employees to aid with any issues that may affect their home-work life balance, all transit PSOs will be treated equally."
The State government has pledged to have 940 PSOs at 216 railway stations, including four regional stations, by November.