1987 - 1992



Railway Investigation Division ~ Transit Patrol Department History


"Departmental"  "Female Officers" "History Highlights" "Arrest Powers"

"Rank Structure &Insignia" "Badge &Patches"



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A History of Transit Policing in Victoria

The first contact between members of the fledgling Victoria Police and a mechanised public transport system started about 12 September 1854, when the inaugural run of the first steam train in Australia ran from Flinders Street to Sandridge(now Port Melbourne). It was a fine day and a large crowd had gathered to witness the Melbourne and Hobson s Bay Railway Company carry an official party to mark the occasion. The presence of Sir Charles Hotham, Governor of Victoria, as a passenger made it a gala, vice-regal occasion. The train travelled along the company s 4 km. line to what is now Station Pier. It was a ten minute journey.

The train consisting of a small 30 horsepower, six wheel steam engine(without the luxury of a canopy to protect the crew from the elements), an open 3rd Class carriage, bearing the band of the 40th(Queen s Own) Regiment, two 1st Class carriages for the official party and a 2nd Class carriage, performed well for the down journey to Sandridge. The train reached a brisk 25 kph through the ti-tree scrub and over the marshy plain and low sand hills between the two stations.

The Victoria Police became involved when the train refused to proceed for the up journey to Melbourne. It was finally persuaded to move by the combined strength of twenty policemen pushing to get it started. They were on duty at the location for the occasion. Members of the Victoria Police have had a role to play, in transit policing and security since that day.

Some time after this incident Victoria Police were seconded to the Melbourne and Hobson s Railway Stations on full time duty and were paid by the railways. Uniform constables kept the stations relatively safe from criminals, hooligans, and people of bad character, night and day. The first police were Constable Edward Freer, Constable Charles Sherwood, Constable Charles Shaw, Constable Thomas Tandy, and Constable Patrick Flannery.

The Railway Commissioner in 1878 decided they needed a full time detective in their employ to investigate crime, accidents and missing luggage and freight. On the 17 December 1878, Railway Commissioner Mr. John Woods appointed an ex-detective of the Victoria Police, Samuel Wilson as Railway Detective.

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Samuel Wilson

*Image Courtesy Of His Great Grandaughter, Helen McNamara

Wilson had been born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland on the 22 August 1843. Samuel sailed from Plymouth on the 9 February 1863 on the ship, Persia and arrived in Sydney on the 10 May 1863. He was 19 years old and his passage of five pounds($10) was paid for by his brother, James, who was already living in Sydney. On the 2 February 1865 he married Isabella Beverley at Scots Church Sydney.

Wilson then moved to Melbourne, apparently without his wife, as in 1873 he was living in Melbourne and on the 3 November 1874 he joined the Victoria Police as a Detective 3rd Class. His police history sheet describes him as; single, intelligent looking, 5 feet 2 inches tall (157 cms.) with a ruddy complexion, light brown hair and grey eyes.

An entry on his Record of Conduct and Service dated 16 June 1876 shows- Great credit is due to the detective for energy displayed in the arrest of Lachlan McKinnon under difficult circumstances...at Serpentine, Victoria, for sheep stealing.

On the 14 July 1876 Wilson s record sheet shows; neglect of duty by failing to deliver his stolen property lists and give his signature...with the Resident Clerk. He pleaded guilty and was reprimanded.

On the 31 August 1876 Wilson was discharged from the Detective Force on his resignation. In December 1878 he was appointed Railway Detective. It is interesting to note that Wilson s police history sheet shows it as, Victorian Police . By 1895 it had become Victoria Police .

The Management of Railways Act 1863 provided railways employees with a power of arrest for railway offences. They also had the same statutory power as other citizens to arrest a person whom they observed offending against other laws(citizen s arrest).

Wilson s usual work was patrolling trains, enforcing the railway s by laws, carrying out investigations as directed by the Railway Commissioners. He charged people, often by summons, for fare evasion. Theft of railway property, placing objects on the lines, abusing staff and other anti-social behaviour on trains and at railway stations. He also kept track of the Kelly Gang of bushrangers and submitted reports concerning their movements in the north-east of Victoria and southern N.S.W. He also arranged for the crews of trains travelling into north-east Victoria to be armed with Colt revolvers and rifles, to protect the crews and passengers from the Kelly gang. He was sworn in as a Special Constable for the northern bailiwick. He was involved in the arrest of a gang of swindlers, the arrest of the offender for a very serious assault on the station-master at Glen Huntley station, the arrest of an offender for robbery at the Rockbank station, and the apprehension and prosecution of looters from the wreck of a ship, Eric the Red in 1880.

Wilson became well known to local police and police from overseas. Often officers from other countries would arrive in Melbourne and ask to meet Wilson.

After a fourteen year career as a railway detective Wilson retired at 50 years of age on the 31 July 1892. He then began a private detective agency named, Wilson s private Inquiry and Missing Friends Agency . The agency s address in 1893 was Queen St. Melbourne and in April 1894 the address was 325 Collins St. Melbourne.

On the 11 November 1912, Samuel died of asthma. He is buried in the Presbyterian Section of the Melbourne General Cemetery.

On the 6 January 1894 another ex-detective from the Victoria Police, William Napier Considine was appointed, Inspector of Detectives of the Victorian railways . Apparently there were other detectives at this time at the railways. Considine arrested offenders and carried out all court prosecutions for the detectives. After becoming sick with complications from a common cold, Considine died at home on the 1 July 1895. William Considine was the son of General Considine of the British Army. His funeral was held on the 3 July 1895 with many Victoria Police and railways officials attending. He is buried at Melbourne general Cemetery.

On the 19 July 1895, the first serving police member, Detective Constable Frederick Oscar Borsum was appointed Inspector of detectives. On the 17 July 1899 Borsum s title was changed to Inspector, Special Inquiry Branch and his men became Special Inquiry Officers. Borsum was ultimately promoted to Sergeant 1st Class while at the railways and he retired at 60 years of age, from the police force on the 18 May 1919, but remained as the OIC Special Inquiry Branch at the railways until he retired again, from the railways on the 18 May 1924.

Borsum died on the 12 January 1934 at his residence in Essendon and is buried in the Keilor Cemetery.

In 1921 Detective Constable Neil Olholm was seconded to the Special Inquiry Branch under Borsum. When Borsum retired Olholm was appointed the OIC on the 1 July 1924. Also at this time Olholm s Assistant Inspector was, Leo Ambrose O Sullivan, who had been a train conductor and promoted to Special Inquiry Officer, but had left the railways and joined the Victoria police, he returned to the railways as a Senior detective. O Sullivan and Olholm featured in many arrests and court cases at the railways but about Monday 16 march 1925 a devastating sensation occurred. Four Victoria police detectives were suspended pending an inquiry into corruption. They were Detectives Walter Rufus Fowler, John McPherson and Detective Leo O Sullivan and Senior Detective Neil Olholm from the railways.. They were later charged with conspiracy, over demanding money and Olhom, McPherson and O Sullivan were all found guilty. Olholm was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, McPherson to 9 months, O Sullivan to 3 years, as he was considered the ring leader, and ultimately after disappearing for some time, Fowler was acquitted. This obviously ended Olholm being the OIC at the railways. An unusual incident, in that the day Detective Fowler surrendered, 4 December 1926. Olholm died at Beulah, Victoria, not knowing Fowler had turned himself in.

On the 20 March 1925, Detective Sergeant 2nd Class, Thomas John Clugston was appointed the Inspector of the Special Inquiry Branch. Clugston was warned by the Railway Commissioners that he was not to allow what went on with his predecessor at the railways. At this time the OIC s honorary rank was Chief Inspector. Clugston left the railways on his promotion to Sub-inspector on the 21 August 1929. Clugston died in 1963 at Cambrian Hill, near Ballarat.

On the 10 September 1929 Senior Detective John Alexander Grieve became the Chief Inspector of the Special Inquiry Branch. It was during Grieve s time as Chief Inspector that the first Special Inquiry Officer was killed on duty. James Cornelius Cahill, stationed at Shepparton was in the rail yards at Seymour on the 5 April 1934, he apparently tried to jump onto a moving freight train but slipped and fell beneath it s wheels. His body was mutilated and was found by a train examiner, Mr. E. Clancy at 3.15 a.m. Cahill had been a member of the Victoria Police and in 1914 he was awarded a Valour award while stationed at Bendigo as a Constable. In 1923 he was one of the police discharged in the Victoria police strike.

In late December 1942 or early January 1943 Grieve left the railways on promotion, to take charge of No. 5 area of the C.I.B. at Flemington. On the 19 December 1946 he became the OIC of the C.I.B. at South Melbourne and on the 5 January 1948 he was promoted to District Detective Inspector at Russell Street. At 60 years of age he was superannuated from the police force on the 9 April 1948.

On the 5 January 1943 Sergeant 1st Class, Frederick Wilhelm Sickerdick was appointed the OIC of the Special Inquiry Branch. About 1947 the name changed to Railway Investigation Division and the men became Railway Investigation Officers. Chief Inspector Sickerdick never drove a car, while on duty he was driven every where by Detective First Constable Charles Pilgrim, his Assistant Inspector, from the 1 January 1945, when Pilgrim was stationed there. On the 9 March 1948 Sickerdick was superannuated from the police force at 60 years of age, but remained as OIC of the Railway Investigation Division. About 1950 Senior Detective Ron Kellett was also stationed at the Investigation Division. Kellett left about 1956 to return to the police force and ultimately went on to become Assistant Commissioner (Operations) in 1977. On Monday 9 March 1953, Sickerdick retired from the railways.

Senior detective Charles William James Pilgrim then became the Chief Inspector on Sickerdick s retirement. He was probably the most well known Chief Inspector of the Division. Known to all as Charlie or Chas , he made big changes in the Division. He formed the Vandal squad based on the police Bodgie Squad of that era, that was formed to combat the gangs of the time. He formed the Transport Section, which comprised a police member from the Mobile Traffic Section(now the Traffic Management Unit) and a Railway Investigation officer in high powered cars carrying out Transport Regulation Board work on the state s highways. Pilgrim remained the Chief Inspector, but on the 5 December 1968 at 55 years of age he retired from the police force, but stayed on at the railways as OIC.

In December 1968 Senior Detective Leo Dent was seconded to the railways to take the place of Pilgrim when he retired, but as Pilgrim remained as the OIC, Leo never got to be in charge. Leo retired from the railways and the police force as medically unfit on the 24 March 1976.

June 2, 1974 saw the retirement from the railways of Charlie Pilgrim. Charlie went on to be the Secretary of the State Relief Committee for Victoria. Charlie died on 13 may 2008, in Glen Waverley.

The first serving policeman of officer rank now became the Chief Inspector of the Division. He was Detective Inspector Cyril George (Bill) Ainley. He was the most forward thinking of all the Chief Inspectors. He commenced duty on 3 June 1974. Enormous changes in the Division were made by Ainley. He had the Division transferred from the control of the Claims Agent s Office to the control of Secretary for Railways, he created a written charter setting out the duties of Investigation officers, all Officers were to sign and issue their own police and legal paperwork, formed the motor Cycle Squad, the Vandal Intelligence squad, first wallet ID and badge holder for RIOs, later copied by police, an Internal Affairs Officer, the Railway Law Enforcement Academy, re-equipped the Division with up to date firearms, issue of American police style gun rigs, the first uniform for RIOs, later copied by the Victoria Police, the Vandal Squad was enlarged and became the Special Operations group, formed the Special Duties Squad and the Railway Drug Squad, within the crime Squad, which was formerly called the Criminal Section, began the amalgamation of the Investigation Division and the By Laws Section into one Investigation Division, commenced written commendations to be attached to officers histories, and employed the first female officers in the Division. On the 6 February 1976 Ainley was promoted within the police force to the rank of Chief Inspector, now for the first time the Division had a true Chief Inspector in charge. Unfortunately about the middle of 1979, Ainley became very ill and passed away on the 15 September 1979. Big Bill was cremated with full police honours on 18 September 1979 at Springvale.

With the death of Ainley, two police Chief Inspectors, Hindson and Anderson, filled in, consecutively as OIC until Chief Inspector Laurence Hamilton was appointed later in 1979.

Chief Inspector Hamilton was probably the most respected of Chief Inspectors the Division had. Provided the duties of officers were carried out within the law he would defend the officers 100% Hamilton arranged the completion of the amalgamation of the By-laws and Investigation division into one.

Hamilton saw the introduction of the uniform for almost all Investigation officers. It was an update of the earlier RIO uniform, which in the meantime the police had copied. During this time there was a lot controversy, mainly by police, about the uniform being the same as theirs. No mention that they had virtually copied ours. Hamilton, although a policeman, defended the railway uniform. He even went up against the Police Association(verbally and in writing).

About this time troublesome youths were causing problems on the trains and in particular on the Broadmeadows line. Many an article was written in the Melbourne newspapers about the comments of people living in Broadmeadows and the youths causing the trouble. Hamilton made accurate replies to all comments and at times he led from the front, on the trains and at Broadmeadows Railway Station.

In early 1983 Hamilton returned to the police department. This was to be the end of serving police members to be in charge.

Railway Investigation Officer, Inspector Max Sigg took over as the Acting Chief Inspector for a short time and then retired. His place was taken over by Inspector Phillip Ross.

In 1984/85 the OIC s position was renamed Manager, Investigation Department . A Lieutenant Colonel, retired from the Australian Army Military Police, Kenneth Graeme Petersen was appointed the OIC. Petersen made the Department very high profile with lots of publicity and family involvement when recruits graduated as RIOs. At this time also the regional Investigators and their Melbourne Sergeant were sworn in as Special Constables in the State of New South Wales. Courses and training, as well as graduation ceremonies were carried out at Military locations around Melbourne and at Puckapunyal Military Garrison at Seymour.

In 1986 the first murder on a Melbourne suburban train occurred when an army sergeant was killed by a male passenger with a knife. Rios were involved attending at the crime scene and in follow up investigations with the Victoria Police Homicide squad. A male received a lengthy jail sentence for the offence. By 1987 things were beginning to go downhill with the Department, with a lot of bad publicity concerning members of the Department, caused by unhappy train commuters, offenders, the news media, a Victorian Liberal Government minister and some members of the Investigation department.

About April 1987 after what we called the 'Ballroom Incident' and we were told that we were no longer wanted and the Victoria police would be taking over fully, a Caretaker Manager was placed in charge. Ex-Deputy Commissioner of Police(Operations) Mr. Keith Thompson took over the job. After sorting out many things one of the first reports Thompson wanted was the make-up of the Crime Squad, which was duly done.

About the 2 June 1987 the first uniform operational police commenced duty as the Transit Police District. Their Officer in Charge was Chief Superintendent Bob Davis.

After Keith Thompson left later in 1987, Bob Davis also became the Manager of the now named Transit Patrol. As the Transit Police were housed in the old railway buildings at 67 Spencer Street, Melbourne and the Transit Patrol was at Flinders Street Station, a building was rented at 301 Flinders Lane and both sections moved in to this building. In 1988 Victoria police detectives moved into Flinders lane as well and became the Transit CIB. Also one detective was stationed with each Regional Transit Patrol Officer in the country.

In August 1989 Bob Davis retired from the police force and Chief Superintendent Graham Davidson became the Officer in charge of the Transit Police District and Transit Patrol. Davidson didn't stay long, although he may have been the most liked boss, the transit Patrol had. He returned to the police command on promotion in 1990.

Chief Superintendent Tom Gillett then became Manager Transit Patrol and OIC of the Transit Police District. During this time the 'writing was on the wall' for the Transport Patrol Officers. A Victorian Government Minister, Allen Brown under the Premier Jeff Kennett, was determined to get rid of the Transit Patrol Officers and have only police carry out law enforcement work on the transit systems.

On the 27 October 1992 at 4.00 p.m. Transit Patrol ceased to exist. This illustrious but little known law enforcement agency of 114 years, which operated, many times better than the Victoria Police, was no more. Transit Patrol Officers who for many years thought that their police colleagues treated them as equals, now left them on their own(except for a few police who tried to assist the officers survive). It would appear that the government of the day thought it ironic that they would get rid of the Transit Patrol on their 114th birthday, but they were wrong, the birthday was to be on the 17th December 1992.



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Introduction Of Female Officers

In 1974 Detective Inspector C. G. (Bill) Ainley was appointed the Chief Inspector of the Railways Investigation Division. From 1878 till this time the Division had always been staffed by males.

On the 15 march 1975 Ainley had an advertisement inserted in the Melbourne Age newspaper for the recruitment of female parking officers. The advertisement read:-

"Victorian Railways Female Parking Officers. Victorian Railways require two females between 19 and 27 years of age(single women preferably) to control and supervise motor car parking on railway premises in the Spencer Street Station area and at certain suburban stations.  Shift work and Saturday work involved.  Appointment will be on 6 months probation at a commencing rate of $128.30 per week advancing to $132.61 per week after 12 months satisfactory service.

  Conditions of employment provide for :-

Four weeks annual leave

*   Free rail travel and bonus when on annual leave.

*   Quarter rail fare to work

*   Cumulative sick leave

*   Superannuation after two years

Apply Employment Officer, Railway Offices 67 Spencer St. Melbourne

Phone 6 1001, Ext. 1678 or 1780


In May 1975 two females had been employed, Glynis Steward, 20, and Kylie Lucas 22.   During that month the Sun and the Age newspapers featured articles reporting of the new Railway Rangers and although they wore plain clothes, at first they wore arm bands showing they were VR Parking officers and later they were issued with caps bearing a VR badge.

By February 1976, Kylie Lucas had resigned, I believe, and Glynis Steward had become a Railway Investigation Officer and was joined by another female, Janet Ainley, the daughter of Chief Inspector Ainley. Glynis and Jan were seconded to the Vandal Squad, and with various male officers rode the suburban and country trains combating, vandalism and other offences. The Age newspaper of 11 February 1976 carried an article concerning the female officers and a photograph of them on a train, undercover.

Some time after this another female was employed and joined the Special Operations group, Deborah Stevens, who was the wife of one of the then By-Laws Inspectors.

Although the females were used on the Vandal Squad, which had now been renamed the Special Operations Group(S.O.G.)they were sometimes detached to the Crime Squad to assist with undercover jobs or investigations involving females.

Over the next following years more female officers were employed and worked on the general policing duties from the 24 hour office in the Melbourne Rail Freight Terminal as well as from the Investigation Office in the railways building at 67 Spencer Street.

In March 1980, I believe Glynis, Janet and Debbie had left or were to leave shortly after, and the S.O.G. was staffed with male Investigation Officers , By-Laws Inspectors and one female, Dianne Relf who remained with the Division and was promoted to Sergeant in later years.

About 1985 after completing the Investigation Department Recruits Course, Jennifer Wiltshire received a Dux of Course Award from the department manager, Colonel Ken Petersen, the first female to receive this.

Some of the females in the Division/Department went on to careers in the Victoria Police and the Federal Police, others remained with the Department till the end in 1992.

Although at first I believe the females were a novelty to some officers and disliked by some of the older male officers, they soon proved their worth with charging offenders and attending at courts and seemed to do the job without as much trouble as the males had with offenders.



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Russell Street Bombing

On the 27 March 1986 at 1.00p.m. a car bomb was detonated in the street, outside the Victoria Police Headquarters building in Russell Street, Melbourne. The car used was a 1979 Holden Commodore which had been stolen for that purpose and parked directly in front of the building. The blast seriously injured 21 year old Constable Angela Taylor, as she was near the car when the bomb exploded. A further 22 people were injured, including a City Court Magistrate.  The explosion badly damaged the police building and other parked cars.  Constable Taylor died from her injuries on the 20 April, 1986, the first Victoria Policewoman to be killed on duty.  On the day of the blast, as all city of Melbourne police were called to the scene, a request was made to the Railway Investigation Department to supply officers for traffic point duty in the city intersections of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Flinders and Elizabeth Streets, Elizabeth and Collins Streets and other city intersections, to assist a skeleton crew of traffic police directing traffic. I believe about ten to fifteen officers carried out these duties, with exemplary service.  Also the Detective Senior Constable attached to the Investigation Department Crime Unit with some Crime Unit members attended and assisted at Russell Street.



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Highlights of Transit Policing History

1878 ~ Ex- Victoria Police detective Samuel Wilson appointed Railway Detective. Other detectives appointed later and all wore suits and hats and carried letters of introduction.

1890 ~ 'Flying Gangs' of experienced railway men were appointed for revenue protection duties(Ticket Checking). They made random checks at stations and on trains to detect fare evaders. They also wore suits and hats.

1892 ~ Wilson retired.

1894 ~ Ex- Victoria Police detective William Considine appointed, Inspector of Railway Detectives.

1895 ~ Considine dies. Serving Victoria Police detective Frederick Borsum appointed Inspector of Railway Detectives.

1899 ~ Railways detectives name changed to Special Inquiry Officers and the Special Inquiry Branch created.

1909 ~ 'Flying Gangs' became known as Ticket Examiners. Ticket Checking Division created.

1917 ~ Six Special Inquiry Officers became the Criminal Section, within the Special Inquiry Branch, they investigated the more serious of crimes on the railways.

1919 ~ Borsum superannuated from police force but remains as Inspector of Special Inquiry Officers at the railways.

1923 ~ Victoria Police strike. All strikers who refused to report for duty were discharged and the ringleaders were dismissed. It is believed none were re-employed as police, but at least four of them became Special Inquiry Officers.

1924 ~ Detective Neil Olholm appointed Inspector, Special Inquiry Branch. Ex-Special Inquiry Officer, now Victoria Police detective Leo O'Sullivan appointed his assistant. March 1925 both Olholm and O'Sullivan charged with serious offences and dismissed from the police force, the railways and jailed.

1925 ~ Detective Thomas Clugston appointed Chief Inspector, Special Inquiry Branch.

1929 ~ Detective John Grieve replaces Clugston as Chief Inspector.

1943 ~ Detective Fredrick Sickerdick appointed Chief Inspector, Special Inquiry Branch.

1947~ Special Inquiry Branch renamed Railway Investigation Division. Officers now Railway Investigation Officers.

1948 ~ Sickerdick superannuated from the police force but remains as Chief Inspector Railway Investigation Division.

1953 ~ Sickerdick retires from railways as Chief Inspector.

1953 ~ Detective Charles Pilgrim appointed Chief Inspector of the Railways Investigation Division.

1965 ~ Vandal Squad formed by Pilgrim, consisting of RIOs and Victoria Police to combat vandalism and anti-social behaviour on the trains.

1968 ~ Pilgrim retired from the police force but remained as Chief Inspector, Railways Investigation Division.

1974 ~ Pilgrim retired from the railways.

1974 ~ Detective Inspector 'Bill' Ainley appointed Chief Inspector, Railway Investigation division. Ainley the first policeman of officer rank appointed. Ainley reorganised the Division and enlarged the Vandal Squad, and renamed it the Special Operations group. He publicised the vandalism on the system and the results his officers had combating it. He arranged special operations on trains combined with the police in different districts. He appointed the first female officers in the Division.

1977~ Railway Investigation Division Law Enforcement Academy created. Serving officers attended in service training at the academy and ultimately recruits also attended. About this time Ainley received the Queen's Police medal.

1979 ~Ainley died from cancer. Chief Inspectors Hindson and Anderson filled in as OIC, till another Chief Inspector was appointed.

1979 ~ Chief Inspector Laurie Hamilton appointed OIC, Railway Investigation Division.

1980 ~ RIOs and By Law Inspectors amalgamated into one Investigation Division and uniform patrols commenced on trains. Controversy over the uniform by some police, as they considered it was copied from theirs. RIOs were wearing the uniform almost two years before police.

1982 ~Armoured Vehicle Unit created to transport railway payrolls and collect station revenue. Armed hold-ups on railway armoured vehicles never occurred.

1983 ~ Chief Inspector Hamilton returns to police, Railway Investigation Officer, Inspector Max Sigg, acting Chief Inspector of Division.

1984 ~ Sigg retires, Inspector Phillip Ross appointed acting Chief Inspector of Division.

1985 ~ Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ken Petersen, ex Australian Army Military Police, appointed Manager, Investigation division.

1986 ~ Now named Investigation Department takes over policing of trams and buses as well as trains. Due to a spate of bad publicity, Mr. Brian Halpin LLB, a barrister, appointed by the Victorian government to investigate the department and make recommendations.

1987 ~ Petersen moved to Security Advisor and after a security review of the department, Mr. Keith Thompson, retired Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police takes over as caretaker manager.

1987 ~Victoria Police Chief Superintendent Bob Davis takes over as Manager of the now named Transit Patrol Department and of the transit Police District. Victoria Police move into Department as Transit Police.

1988 ~ Victoria Police detectives arrive at Transit District and become the Transit CIB.

1989 ~Police Chief Superintendent Graham Davidson, becomes Manager Transit Patrol and OIC of Transit police District.

1990 ~ Chief Superintendent Tom Gillett appointed OIC of the Transit Police District and Manager, Transit Patrol department.

1992 ~Transit Patrol ceased to exist. Officers absorbed into the railway system, other Victorian government positions, the police force or accepted redundancies and resigned.



Patsy Adam Smith,  Romance of Australian Railways, Rigby, Australia, 1976.

Michael Guiney,  Inspector, Transit Patrol Department.

~T.P.O Sgt. Doug Taylor (Crime Unit)



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Authority And Arrest Powers Of Officers

Railway Investigation Officers and Transit Patrol Officers, both had specific extensive legislative powers. The Transport Act 1983 authorised Transit Patrol Officers to investigate, apprehend and prosecute criminal behaviour committed in, upon or against any and all Government Public Transport, or premises owned or occupied by any Victorian Government Public Transport entity of the day. In some instances their powers exceeded those of Victoria Police, until 1992, when Police powers were updated to meet their new role in policing the Transport System. The Members of the Transit Patrol were not in general terms at the disposal of any other Victoria Police Management, although would often be called upon to assist Police in non Transit situations and could act with authority with Statutory provisions already in place, or, At the request of a member of the Police Force , a statutory provision enabling Police to gain assistance from members of the public.

~ S/T.P.O. Jeff Heuston  (Patrol Unit)



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Departmental Rank Structure &Insignia

The Victoria Transit Patrol (TPD) was run in a paramilitary manner.   All officers started at the lowest rank.  In the early days as RIO's, lowest rank being RIO Class III followed by Class II and Class I, supervisors underneath departmental managers were known as "Senior Officers".   Once the department had renamed to Transit Patrol Department, lowest rank was "Transit Patrol Officer" (TPO).   In due course, officers  would sit examinations and promotional boards to move to a higher rank.   Eligibility for promotion to rank of Sergeant and above would require the interested officers to successfully pass lengthy qualification courses.   These courses were held either internally at the Victoria Transit Patrol Department's Training Facility or Externally at the Victoria Police Academy, Glen Waverley.  Qualification courses for rank of Inspector and above were generally undertaken at the Victoria Police "Airlie" Officer Training Center in South Yarra.   Promotion within the department was always highly competitive.   

 At the time of demise ranks existed as: "Transit Patrol Officer" or "T.P.O.",   "Senior Transit Patrol Officer" or "S/T.P.O.",  "Transit Patrol Sergeant"   or   "Sgt. T.P.O.",    "T.P.O. Inspector"  or  "T.P.O. Insp.",    T.P.O. Chief Inspector"  or  "C/I .  T.P.O.",    "T.P.O. Superintendant" or "Supt. T.P.O."  and "Manager,  Transit Patrol Department" or T.P.D. Manager".  Rank insignia for  "Manager,  Transit Patrol Department, became redundant once  Victoria Police Management was in place,  they then displayed  actual Victoria Police rank insignia. 


~  S/ T.P.O Rohan Hendrickson (Patrol Unit) 



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History Of The RIO ~ TPO Badge And Shoulder Flash By The Late  S/TPO Michael  (Torch)  Ledwich  ~  1989 (revised 2012)

This piece has been reproduced  as a tribute  to  our beloved colleague who passed tragically without notice.  It was originally written by him and printed in the PICAA  (Police Insignia Collectors Association Of Australia) Journal,  November 1989 of which Michael was  member 199.

The first "Railway Detective" in Victoria was a Mr. Samual WILSON who began on the 28th day of October, 1878. The 111 year history of this unique section of the Railway System in Victoria has seen many name changes as well as changes to Insignia. In 1892 the name became "Special Inquiry Branch". The year 1947 saw the name change to Railway Investigation Division. The slight alteration to Investigation Department occurred in 1985. The current name of Transit Patrol was introduced in 1987. This replaced the outdated "Railways" in the title due to the introduction of increased responsibilities. That was to patrol not only trains but trams and buses of the Authority as well. This time included the introduction of Victoria Police into the Department. The original "Railway Detectives", "Special Inquiry Officers" and "Investigation Officers" always wore plain clothes. This was of course usually suits which included a "Pork Pie" hat. The only means of identification was a small red and gold embossed card.

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The 3rd day of March, 1976, saw the introduction of the first badges. Mr. G. SIMMONS, who joined the Division in 1958, had been pushing for a uniformed presence practically since the day he started. These first badges (only three) were in fact designed and manufactured by Mr. Simmons and were worn by the Division's two "Parking Officers". The badges were mounted on the normal blue/grey Railway uniform. The third badge was mounted in a leather identity wallet. This badge was red and gold, consisting of a "VR" and belt with Royal Crown Paramount enclosed in a laurel wreath. The same design was used in gold embossing on Prosecutors General Authorities and as letterheads. The then Railways General Manager stated his intention to use the design for general Railways use. This did not occur but opened the door for Mr Simmons to introduce a star to the design. This star was to help represent the Law Enforcement function of the Investigation Division. Late 1976 saw the first issue wallet badge design (see photo). The matching silver badge was the breast-badge. These were issued to all members in late 1977. The ID consisted of a laminated card with the badge mounted in the leather (Water Buffalo hide) wallet, with photograph.




This badge mounting, badge wallet and ID design was loaned to the Victoria Police Research and Planning Section (to be later adopted by the Victoria Police). Mr Simmons designed the first shoulder patch in July, 1977. The patch was affectionately called the "Cup and Saucer" (see photo).



The patch contained the standard VicRail logo. A Cash Van unit (Armoured Vehicles) was introduced into the Division in 1978 due to several armed robberies occurring on Railway Stations. The first uniforms (blue in colour) were issued to Officers in the unit in July of the same year. The uniform included the "Cup and Saucer" patch, silver breast-badge and a woven silver lurex domed hat-badge.   In 1977 a cloth cap badge woven direct to baseball cap and pocket of pistol team blazer (see below).



The then chief Commissioner of Police, Mr. S. I. MILLER discussed the uniform with Mr. Simmons including the proposal of the new tunic ("Coat Constable", currently worn today). This Coat Constable was introduced in 1979 in the Railways (blue/grey colour). The lurex hat-badge was replaced with a flat metal hat-badge to match the breast badge (see below).




The shoulder patch for the uniform was woven with the Division's emblem and the name (see similar example below).




This new patch and hat-badge were primarily designed by Mr.  Simmons.   A new three-level hat-badge (see below).




was then designed by Mr. Simmons in 1980 and the uniform was changed to royal blue. This year also saw the new patch with the emblem and wording on a dark blue background.



                                                                                                                          Shoulder Flash                        Baseball Cap Patch


On the 25th of November, 1980, the first uniformed train patrols commenced. The hat-badge worn at this time was still the flat style due to manufacturing delays with the new three-level badge, However uniformed officers started to wear this new badge from the 25th of December, 1981. The matching wallet badge was mounted by a spring clip so as to be removable and used as a breast-badge (see below).



The Division's Parking Officers (two female officers) were issued with a maroon coloured uniform in late 1982. A nylon uniform jacket (current "Eagle Jacket") was introduced in 1983 but rejected and re-introduced in 1988.

In 1983, VicRail was "split" into the State Transport Authority and Metropolitan Transit Authority. This meant another name and insignia for the Division. A fluted edged badge was designed, incorporating the Transport Ministry Coat of Arms in the centre Rondel. This design was rejected with the Coat of Arms being replaced by the Railways "Big Wheel" (see below).




Contrary to popular belief that this design was based on the British Transport Police badge, it was in fact based on the American Police badge design, in the "Sunburst" style. The Division's name was changed to "Investigation Department" and the patch was first worn in 1985 with variations to size and border in 1986  (see Below).




Breast badges were deleted. When the Department's name was changed in early 1987 to Transit Patrol, the current patch and badge were issued (see below). 





1992 saw  the introduction of a new badge,  shoulder patch and rank insignia was moved from the sleeve region to the epaulettes.   The new shoulder patch was issued  and worn in 1992 with the badge to be issued in 1993.  The delay on the badge was due to design finalisation and manufacturing (see below).



                                                                                                  Shoulder Flash                      Baseball Cap Patch



Scheduled 1993 (never issued


                                                                                                                                      TPO           Senior TPO        Sergeant


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These designs being updated versions of the previous. It was Mr. G.  Simmons who was instrumental in the design and introduction of the Department's uniform and insignia. His ideas from thirty years ago have only just been realised in the last few. Most of his ideas are now used by both the Victoria Transit Patrol Department and the Victoria Police.


1980, 20th June    -   First Investigation Division decals fitted to vehicles.

1980, 9th  July   -  Uniform "Coat Constable" design in royal blue with new design hat badge and patch.

1980,  12th July   -   New wallet-badge design with spring clip.

1980, 25th  November   -   First uniformed train patrols.

1981, 25th  November   -  New three-level hat-badges worn.

1982, 21st  September  -  Maroon coloured uniforms for Parking Squad.

1983   - VicRail "split" into State Transport Authority and Metropolitan Transit Authority.

1985  -  Name change to "Investigation Department". New badge and patch design. Breast-badges deleted.

1987  -   Name change to "Transit Patrol".   New badge and patch design based on previous design.


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Mr. G.  Simmons (Inspector [Retired] Railways Investigation Department), without whom I wouldn't have all this information and I wouldn't be wearing the uniform I wear today.

Mr. A. Podhorodecki (Chief Inspector Transit Patrol), without whom I wouldn't have  the collection I do.

Mr.  S. Szigeti (Superintendent Transit Patrol).

Mr.  R. Irwin (Senior Photographer, Transit Patrol).

Mr.  D. Taylor (Sergeant Crime Unit, Transit Patrol).

Mr.  A.  Fuller  (Transit Supervisor / Security Services Branch / Public Transport Authority of Western Australia

Lega Ply Ltd. Melbourne.

City Pix, Melbourne.


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1878,  17th December  -  First "Railway Detective".

1892    -   Name change to "Special Inquiry Branch".

1947  -  Name change to "Railway Investigation Division".

1976,  3rd March   -  First three hand-made patches introduced.

1976,  22nd December  - First issue of wallet design.

1977,  15th July  - Design of "Cup and Saucer" shoulder patch.

1977,  25th August -  Gold wallet badges in leather wallet with IDs issued to all members.

1977,  5th September -  Silver breast-badges issued.

1977,  8th November  - Royal blue colour for uniform considered.

1978, 28th June - First uniform issue. "Cup and Saucer" patch, dome cloth hat-badge and silver breast-badge.

1979,  8th June  - "Coat Constable" introduced into uniform (current tunic). New shoulder patch with emblem and name. First metal hat-badge (Hat design).

1980,  11th March -  New design hat-badge. The three-level design with true leaves, centre rondell, scroll in blue paint and badge scroll finish. 




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