A Protective Services Officer (PSO) has helped thwart the efforts of an alleged thief following an incident in Richmond last night (14 April).
The PSO was patrolling alongside police officers when they received reports of a woman inside a closed café on Elizabeth Street about 10.40pm.
It is alleged the woman had hidden within the premises until it shut, before stealing bags of food.
The 36-year-old woman was promptly arrested and has been charged with burglary, theft, drug offences and bail-related offences.
She has been bailed to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 26 June.
The arrest follows another by quick-thinking PSOs in Frankston earlier that afternoon.
PSOs were patrolling a shopping centre on Beach Street about 5.40pm when they noticed a man acting suspiciously.
A search was conducted, with the PSOs allegedly uncovering an imitation firearm, knife, ammunition and what is believed to be a quantity of ice.
The 30-year-old man was arrested at the scene and has since been charged by Frankston Crime Investigation Unit detectives with drug trafficking, possess drugs, prohibited person possess imitation firearm, possess controlled weapon and possess ammunition.
He has been remanded to appear at Frankston Magistrates’ Court on 29 April.
The patrols form part of Operation Shielding, which has seen 160 PSOs and 80 police officers redeployed to commercial retail precincts each night to prevent crime and provide reassurance to the public during the current State of Emergency.
Under the operation, PSOs are empowered to operate outside of transport hubs and can make arrests or intervene in breaches of the peace while patrolling the streets.
Transit Safety Division Superintendent Alison Boyes said PSOs had always played a vital role in keeping the community safe, with the redeployments an extension of that work.
She said the recent arrests were just some of the exemplary work PSOs were already undertaking through Operation Shielding.
“We know seeing PSOs at train stations or on public transport gives people an overwhelming feeling of safety,” Supt Boyes said.
“More often than not, they are pivotal when it comes to apprehending persons of interest using the public transport network, or those wanted on warrants.
“We’re extremely glad our PSOs can assist during this uncertain time with instilling those same perceptions of safety to commercial areas and retail precincts that would otherwise be teeming with people.”
There continues to be a visible PSO presence on the public transport network at the busiest 83 stations, as well as vaia mobile patrols at stations and on trains that are not permanently staffed.