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PSOs sought women's IDs to look up details

AAP logoAAP 21/12/2016 Helen Velissaris and Angus Livingston

A Victorian protective services officer who abused his position to ask for the personal details of a woman smoking on a train platform later contacted her on Facebook to say she had "amazingly beautiful eyes".

Predatory behaviour is common among Victoria Police PSO's - who patrol city and country railway stations - according to a new report by the state's Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

Most of the almost 80 predatory behaviour allegations referred to in the report - released on Thursday - involved officers targeting young women and checking their IDs so they could contact them socially.

The IBAC report found predatory behaviour made up 17 per cent of all allegations against PSOs.

"A PSO may have a lawful reason for approaching and requesting a person's details, however it is not lawful to request personal information to pursue a relationship," the report said.

In one case a woman was spoken to by PSOs about smoking on a train platform with one of the officers returning to get her details for the day's running sheet.

The woman then received a post on Facebook from the officer who included information about smoking restrictions on train platforms but also said she had "amazingly beautiful eyes" and was not going to be fined.

The complaint was investigated and the PSO received "workplace guidance".

Another PSO was investigated over accessing a police database for information on his brother's ex-wife.

The PSO was found to have later sent a screenshot of that police check to his brother "for a laugh".

He was charged, fined $500, forced to write a letter of apology to the victim and had to agree to resign as soon as possible.

Allegations of assault and excessive use of force made up 42 per cent of the matters investigated by IBAC - however most were deemed "minor".

There were 233 complaints against PSOs from February 2012 to December 2015 comprising 440 separate allegations.

But Police Association secretary Ron Iddles says the report unfairly maligns the state's PSOs.

"The report released by IBAC follows an examination of all the allegations received and recorded by Victoria Police and IBAC over this period but does not exclude those allegations investigated and found to be unsubstantiated," he said in a statement.

"The report is an unfair representation of an issue that undermines the good work and standing that PSOs have in the community."

IBAC recommends police try and improve the community's understanding of PSO powers and increase their professional and ethical standards training.

In response Victoria Police has agreed to implement several new programs.

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