WA Transit Guards to carry pepper spray
Western Australia’s transit guards will be equipped with pepper spray for use on station platforms and during mobile response duties.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said she had authorised the Public Transport Authority to have all transit guards trained and qualified to use OCS (Oleoresin Capsicum Spray) as soon as possible.
“The Government is determined to keep our rail network safe and to protect the people charged with this responsibility,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“The PTA began training senior guards in the use of pepper spray late last year and issued it to trained guards, on a trial basis in June.
“The trial showed it to be highly effective in limiting physical risks to guards when making arrests.
“The spray will now become another option for all our guards who have to deal with antisocial and violent offenders, where they face possible physical assault.”
According to PTA Security Manager Steve Furmedge, the threat of the spray is often effective in calming offenders.
“It is designed as another force alternative for our guards, continuing the progression from negotiation, conflict resolution and tactical restraints,” Mr Furmedge said.
“If the threat alone is not sufficient, the spray can incapacitate the person and reduce the level of violence.
“Its effects last 10-45 minutes, with no known long-term after-effects.
“The spray will be the same as that used by the WA Police, and the procedures and administrative processes will be consistent with those used by the police.
“This reflects the high degree of accountability and responsibility which we attach to this new weapon.”
Ms MacTiernan said guards would have access to an after-care kit and the training included dealing with offenders who, for example, had asthma or other medical conditions, wore contact lenses, or failed to recover within a reasonable time.
“Our transit guards play a pivotal role in keeping our rail system safe - backed up by our world-class CCTV surveillance system, improved lighting and emergency telephones,” she said.
The spray will not be used inside trains.