Terror threat real: union

WA Police Union president George Tilbury says the dangers of homegrown terrorism are real and some people have their “heads stuck in the sand” about the realities of an attack in WA.

“Isolation is no longer our saviour. We are now living in a changing world and face new dangers which require innovative and immediate changes to protect police officers and the community,” he said.

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 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. 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 not only managing that threat but tackling the very real dangers for their members.

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

“We have also introduced four of a proposed five tranches of legislation to strengthen our agencies’ ability to act swiftly in the face of terror,” Mr Keenan 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 Police Federation of Australia 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 needed to operate on a level playing field where they have at least equal resources.