WA Police adapting to new threat: terrorism

Police unions have called for smarter policing and intelligence gathering to deal with home-grown terrorism
Police unions have called for smarter policing and intelligence gathering to deal with home-grown terrorism

WA Police Union president George Tilbury says the dangers of home-grown terrorism are real and some people have their heads in the sand about the likelihood of an attack in WA.

“Isolation is no longer our saviour,” he said.

“We face new dangers that require innovative and immediate changes to protect police officers and the community.”

Mr Tilbury recently joined leaders of every police union in Australia to show united support for calls from the Police Federation of Australia (PFA) for smarter policing, intelligence gathering and sharing through a number of technological initiatives.

He said the initiatives would help implement the Ice Taskforce recommendations, track illegal firearms, provide a national data collection point for domestic violence incidents and orders, and tackle serious and organised crime.

“WAPU supports the PFA’s initiatives and implores all governments, state and federal, to listen to our collective concerns and make changes to protect our Australian way of life,” he said.

The Commonwealth Government welcomed the calls from the PFA.

In a statement Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism Michael Keenan said Australia was facing its most significant threat from terrorism, and law enforcement agencies were the best in the world at managing that threat and keeping the nation safe.

The Government has provided law enforcement with $630 million to counter terrorism, part of a $1.3 billion investment in keeping Australians safe since the terror threat level was raised to high in August last year.

“We have introduced four of a proposed five tranches of legislation to strengthen our agencies’ abilities to act swiftly in the face of terror,” the statement said.

Those four tranches are a national criminal intelligence system, public safety mobile broadband, unexplained wealth and a national case management system.

Curtin University senior national security and international relations lecturer Mark Briskey said the PFA initiatives were 21st century solutions for 21st century criminal intelligence gathering and crime fighting.

“A big impediment to both effectively obtaining information on nascent criminal conspiracies as well as effective police work more generally is obtaining timely and accurate information,” he said.

He said that to defeat social media and IT-savvy criminals, police need to operate on a level playing field where they have at least equal resources backed up by effective criminal intelligence resources.