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Violence continues in Melbourne's west suburb -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The media storm in India may have died down, but violence is still a
problem in Melbourne's western suburbs. Victoria Police have been sending high-profile teams,
including officers on horseback, to train stations like Sunshine and Footscray, where Indian
students have been attacked. The police union and local residents groups have long been calling for
more police in the western suburbs, and late at night on the weekends, Victoria Police are
delivering, for now. Lateline's Rafael Epstein went on patrol with some of the officers.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN, REPORTER: Late on Friday night in Melbourne's west and they're on the train
platforms on horseback. Operations like this are all about showing a presence. There are more of
them on the streets than any normal start to the weekend.

As the crowds stream back from the footy, undercover officers arrest someone who's been hassling
passengers for the last few hours.

Minutes before this, he was nearly run over by a bus.

One police veteran is happy to be on patrol after decades in the force.

Hard to get into?

POLICE OFFICER: No, not really.


POLICE OFFICER: I've been there about 30 years.

TEENAGER: Hey, I'm here, safe with the police right here, man. Come to Footscray. Footscray for

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: The train station has the usual mix of teenagers on their way to the city, others
late on their way home from work - all watched over by officers from Operation Safe Streets.

ADAM SPRY, VICTORIA POLICE: Highly visible police presence on the rail stations and transport hubs
and things like that to - just to reassure the public that it's safe to travel on the trains. And
there's also a bit of a covert police presence as well. So, you know, those of us you can see and
those of us that you can't.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: The local MP is here. She'd asked to go on patrol with the police.

MARSHA THOMPSON, LABOR MP: It's an important issue for us to combat, but it's also important that
violence of any form - whether it's around the railway stations and to whomever - has got to stop.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: For the officers who know Footscray, as they drive, they tell the ABC a little
about the people they see on the streets.

POLICE OFFICER: Serious assaults - he stabbed another girl and broke her arm and did all sorts of
untoward things to her. Bit her on the face.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: There are 35,000 Indian students studying in Victoria. Education is the state's
biggest export industry. And the people who buy that product seem reasonably confident that things
are improving.

INDIAN STUDENT: Yeah, it's getting better.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Why do you think it's getting better?

INDIAN STUDENT: Because every night we come here, usually, and there's no like before.

INDIAN STUDENT II: Yeah, yeah, it's gotten better now. Than before, it's better now.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: In February, in this subway beneath Sunshine Station, a 23-year-old Indian student
was kicked in the head until he was unconscious. Three young locals have been charged.

Many here don't believe that Indian students are being singled out.

What did you make of all the stories of the Indian students getting beaten up and bashed and

YOUNG WOMAN: That's their fault. I don't like them - I don't care. Everybody gets bashed - who
cares? Nothing to protest about.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: So you think it's happening to everyone?

YOUNG WOMAN: Yeah, everybody gets bashed. ... Fucking Indians are very, like, you know, vicious
themselves, bro'. They, like, grab train-track rocks and, like, chuck it at you and that.

YOUNG WOMAN II: Who cares about them.

YOUNG WOMAN: Indians are pretty, pretty bad, too.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: On the trains between stations the undercover narcotics officers are on patrol.

This is primarily about police targeting criminals, but these sorts of images are also what police
would like to see on Indian news channels - all 70 of them across that country. And it's also
something that government ministers can talk about when they travel to India over the next few

Ali and Harun are from Pakistan. They say the police are making a difference, but can't possibly
have enough officers to deal with what they say is a massive crime problem.

ALI: Normally in the weekends' time, when some incident, kind of junkies, hit somebody, the police
can't reach the centre because there are so many incidents on the same time. They have not enough
amount of police officers to cover all the areas during that time. And they have to increase their
forces to work on that situation. Yeah, I feel safer, feel secure, and we have something or
somebody there to help us.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Arrests like this are common, though they may do little to solve the long-term
problems. But the local Labor MP says it all makes a difference.

MARSHA THOMPSON: I've spoken to a couple of parents who are thinking of sending their son to study
here, and they came to check for themselves whether Melbourne was a good place, because they were
concerned. And they're sending their son. So next year their son will commence studying here.