With Commissar Carr joining the bandwagon by proposing random handbag checks on trains – which would give people something to talk about aside from the ramshackle nature of NSW public transport – it’s time to ask the big Sydney security question: what are those blokes in the fluoro vests stamped “SECURITY” actually supposed to be doing on the bridges?

For the benefit of the non-Sydney subscribers, ever since September 11 made us lerts but not larmed, we have had the benefit of security guards patrolling the pedestrian walkways over the Sydney Harbour and Anzac Bridges. Whatever the weather, 24 hours a day, the poor devils stroll back and forth as the traffic whips by. At least on the Harbour Bridge there is plenty of pedestrian traffic for company during the more pleasant hours, but the Anzac beat appears a lonely one – and mighty miserable when the wind howls and cold rain lashes in the dead of night.

And what are they doing? The official answer was something about protecting the bridge from terrorists, but with only a slightly criminal mind it’s hard to imagine just how they would do it.

If I was intending to blow up a bridge, I don’t think I would try jogging on with a couple of kilos of explosive in a backpack – that would be saved for the obvious soft targets the b*stards have been going after with the sole exception of September 11. We don’t want to give our terrorist subscribers ideas, but let’s just say I’d be thinking more along the lines of a truck and a lot more bang. And no matter how bright your vest, there’s nothing a bloke on foot is going to be able to do about it.

So what’s the vote on the bridge patrol men – a bit of window dressing that’s wasting resources better used elsewhere, or a vital frontline warrior single-handedly holding together Sydney’s infrastructure?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey