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New cross-disciplinary unit to track potential terrorists and intervene early

Victoria will establish a new cross-disciplinary office to track people at risk of carrying out terrorist attacks and intervene early.

The Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, to be situated inside Victoria Police, will include specialist police, forensic and mental health experts all under one roof.

The $31.6 million unit will provide a structured and coordinated approach to respond to serious threats of violence posed by “people with complex needs” who may commit acts of terrorism or other extreme violence.

It will bring senior and experienced police and mental health clinicians together to better identify and respond to individuals who may pose a risk, and intervene early to help prevent violence.

Additional funding will also be provided to put in place specialist mental health, alcohol and other drug services to engage high risk individuals, ensuring they receive the help they need.

“The centre will target high-risk people in the community who may pose a serious threat to Victorians, including those who hold a fixated grievance and violent extremists,” said Police Minister Lisa Neville.

Staff recruitment and establishment of the centre will commence immediately. It will be operational by January 2018, based at the Victoria Police Command Complex in Spencer Street. It is expected the centre will assess around 300 people per year.

It is based on a model developed with input from leading forensic mental health specialists including Forensicare, Melbourne Health and Monash Health.

Similar centres are already operating in New South Wales, Queensland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The Victorian government is also reforming terror laws, following a review by former police chief commissioner Ken Lay and former Supreme Court of Appeal justice David Harper.

Author Bio

David Donaldson

David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne.