New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has accepted all 45 recommendations made by State Coroner, Magistrate Michael Barnes, and pledged to give police all the legal protection and certainty they need if they need to use lethal force against terrorists.
Legislation will be introduced to provide certainty for police, Berejiklian said today, adding it was crucial police had clear powers if required to use force to keep the community safe from terrorism.
“As we have seen as recently as this week in Melbourne and on the weekend with the cowardly, evil acts in London, we need to be ever-vigilant to the emerging and evolving risks of terrorism,” the premier said.
“NSW will continue to have the toughest counter-terror laws in the country and we will now give our Police clear protections if they need to use lethal force against terrorists.”
Barnes recommended that the government consider legislative changes to ensure that police have the necessary protections to resolve terrorist incidents in a manner most likely to minimise risk to the public.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said police already have the power to shoot a terrorist dead in situations like the incidents in Melbourne and London, but there was a grey area around whether snipers during the Lindt Cafe siege would have had the legal ability to use lethal force before gunman Man Haron Monis had harmed any hostages.
“I have to declare a terrorist incident first so it is not any every day power,” Fuller told a media conference this afternoon.
In a statement, the premier’s office said the legislation will be introduced in the next sitting week, along with legislation to tighten provisions around parole by requiring consideration of links to terrorism.
The Daily Telegraph also reported this morning that the NSW Government will today announce that 100 police officers in the riot squad in Sydney will be armed with M4 Colt Carbine weapons as part of the government’s first response to the Lindt cafe siege inquiry. That detail wasn’t in Berejiklian’s statement.
Fuller said the exact type of weapon was yet to be decided as a tender process was underway.
Friday’s COAG leaders meeting in Hobart will also discuss counter terrorism responses, and in particular whether parole and bail settings are too lenient.
Top photo: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 16: Police stand guard near the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place following a hostage standoff on December 16, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Two were reported dead after police stormed the Sydney cafe after a gunman had been holding hostages for 16 hours. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)