Anti-terror security is a hotly debated topic in Australia at the moment, with the New South Wales (NSW) government meeting to discuss the introduction of new measures, which they hope will help to clamp down on extremism.
The move comes after NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng was shot dead by teenager Farhad Jabar outside police headquarters in Parramatta on 2nd October. The gunman, aged 15 and thought to have been radicalised by an extremist group, then continued firing into the State Crime Command headquarters before being shot dead by special constables.
Now the state government is proposing to introduce new laws to limit bail for anyone linked with terrorism, a change recommended in a review into last year’s hostage crisis at Lindt Café. In December, two people died after ISIS-flag waving gunman Man Haron Monis took 18 hostages inside the Sydney café.
In addition to direct measures to try and pre-empt terror strikes and radicalisation, NSW police have revealed several protective measures that will be implemented at police stations across the state. Access to police buildings will be limited by installing perimeter security fencing, reinforced high-security screens and remote door access for all personnel.
The high-security fences installed at police stations in metropolitan and at-risk areas could resemble Northern Ireland. Threats to the police force from republican paramilitaries are not uncommon.
Security fencing is also often deployed at major events to protect notable public figures from any would-be attackers. The Pope’s recent visit to New York saw an eight-foot steel fence erected around Central Park (https://www.zaun.co.uk/blog/central-park-fenced-visit-pope/). In contrast, recent protests in the UK against austerity and the state visit of China’s President Xi Jinping have seen police step up to prevent demonstrators from getting too close.
New Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke at an anti-terror summit last week and acknowledged that Australia, and indeed the world, was dealing with an ‘evolving threat.’ With governments across the world constantly on high alert, we could soon be seeing a wider proliferation of the security measures promised in Sydney.