Armed PSOs to guard Victorian hotspots

Caroline Schelle

Shopping malls and even supermarkets in Victoria will be patrolled by extra armed protective services officers to help prevent terror attacks, the state government says.

The new PSOs will be paid by the Andrews government to patrol areas where large numbers of people gather.

"We're looking very closely at this and we're excited about being able to deploy those record number of recruits in new and different ways," Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.

There will be more information about the "innovative ways" police and the PSOs are deployed in the coming months, the premier said.

The new system is designed to help "back up" police during heightened terror events, Police Minister Lisa Neville added.

The PSOs, who primarily act as transit officers, patrol train stations and have arresting powers in some instances, carry out drug searches, and help investigations.

The changes were announced the day after Melbourne man Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 20, was charged with terrorism offences after allegedly planning a New Year's Eve shooting at Federation Square.