News

End of the line for rail yobs?

FED-up train users on the Ipswich-Rosewood line have welcomed new legislation that will make it easier for rail staff to apprehend offenders with force.

Outrageous behaviour by thugs on the line caused Ipswich resident Debby Burns to launch a petition, which received widespread support after the QT published her story about bad behaviour on the line.

Ipswich West MP Sean Choat has been a prime mover behind the new legislation, the Transport Operations Amendment Bill 2012, and said "people want to travel on public transport without the fear of being harassed".

"There was an amendment bill that went before parliament that will give our rail staff some additional powers to be able to detain people," he said.

"It will not just be on the trains. This will apply to public transport property such as the railway stations and overhead bridges.

"In the past they have had to wait until police officers arrive, so it has been difficult to hold someone because the legislation didn't give them the ability.

"This new legislation will give them the ability to intervene responsibility if there are issues and hold someone.

"This amendment bill will provide officers with powers to detain those who act inappropriately, holding them and applying reasonable force until police arrive. Possession of a weapon on a train would constitute cause to detain an individual."

Mr Choat said the changes may seem minor but would allow "flexibility to deal with offenders in the absence of police."

He said it would give the QPS rail squad, senior network officers and transit officers "the ability to make a judgement and act reasonably to protect passengers and property."

"There have been a lot of incidents and both (Councillor) David Pahlke and I have been upset about the shenanigans occurring on the Rosewood line."

Services Union secretary Kath Nelson said that Queensland Rail officers had in the past been "directed by QR not to use these powers."

Ms Burns was delighted to hear of the changes.

"I'm all for it," she said.

Cr Pahlke welcomed the new legislation, saying he hoped it gave transit officers "the power of questioning and response, the power of confiscation and the power of detention and arrest."

"If they have got all of that then it is great because our community is demanding that people be made more accountable for their actions," he said.

Topics:  sean choat



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