Emergency service workers and other public servants co-ordinating the response to the deadly Martin Place siege in Sydney have been praised for their efforts.
Two hostages died when police stormed the Lindt cafe in the early hours of Tuesday, killing the gunman Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis. Tributes are being paid to the slain cafe manager Tori Johnson and mother and barrister Katrina Dawson.
Premier Mike Baird has paid tribute to the hundreds of police and emergency services staff involved in the 16-hour hostage situation. Abbott praised their “courage and professionalism”.
NSW Police wasn’t able to provide information on the number of personnel involved for operational reasons. But a spokesperson told The Mandarin the exercise involved officers attached to Sydney City Local Area Command and surrounding metropolitan local area commands, with assistance from specialist officers attached to the Tactical Operations Unit, Public Order and Riot Squad, Dog Unit, Aviation Support Branch, Police Rescue and trained negotiators.
Meanwhile, Public Service Association general secretary Anne Gardiner has thanked other public servants “who provide the people of NSW with the type of co-ordinated and prepared response we saw during this prolonged incident”.
Gardiner thanks members who work in 000 call centres “providing a 24-hour service in a very stressful and demanding environment” along with staff at Roads and Maritime Services and Transport NSW who handled road closures and transport arrangements.“The work of NSW public servants is ongoing and it is that dedication to duty that is the basis of a civilised society.”
“Others include those in communications areas of departments who are critical to a co-ordinated approach between departments, those members who are civilian scene of crime officers who undertake forensic work, those who are responsible for research on all aspects of the offender and any linked groups and those who work in the areas of procurement and deployment who ensure that their colleagues are properly equipped when they face a situation like this,” she said.
“I also thank our members who are special constables who are responsible for securing critical areas such as [NSW] Parliament House and ensuring the safety of those inside.
“There are so many more public servants who make a professional and co-ordinated response to a tragic incident such as this possible. The work of NSW public servants is ongoing and it is that dedication to duty that is the basis of a civilised society.”
Abbott says state and Commonwealth agencies are investigating the incident. “Commonwealth agencies will continue to provide every support to NSW authorities,” he said.
The gunman, an Iranian refugee, was “well known” to police. He was on bail for a string of violent offences and faced more than 50 sexual and indecent assault charges.
After a briefing of the National Security Committee of Cabinet the Prime Minister travelled to Sydney for further briefings with police and other security agencies. He also thanked police officers personally for their involvement.
“I want to thank the NSW Police and all the other agencies involved for their professionalism and courage,” Abbott said. “Premier Baird showed great steadfastness and Sydneysiders can be proud of their calm during what was a very difficult and testing day …
“Plainly, there are lessons to be learnt and we will thoroughly examine this incident to decide what lessons can be learnt. But I do want now, in the hours immediately after the conclusion of the siege, to offer these words of comfort to those caught up in it and reassurance to the Australian people.”