Sydney Police Arm-Up With New Assault Weapons to Deal With Terrorists

James Burke
By James Burke
December 17, 2017World News
Sydney Police Arm-Up With New Assault Weapons to Deal With Terrorists
Members of the New South Wales (NSW) state riot squad police carry Colt M4 semi-automatic rifles which are now being used during large gatherings over the holidays as part of an increase in security against terrorism. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Sydneysiders will soon see elite police armed with powerful assault rifles on the streets in a move that officials say is to deal with the threat of terrorism.

Nearly 50 specialist police officers in the state of New South Wales (NSW) are now armed with Colt M4 semi-automatic rifles, said the NSW police in a statement. NSW is Australia’s most populous state.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS) have undergone rigorous training in order to be armed with the rifles on the streets of Sydney.

“This is an additional capability that will provide greater support for officers responding to high-risk incidents and ensure increased community safety,” Fuller said.

“The community can expect to see officers carrying these weapons in public on occasion, whilst other times, the weapons will be close at hand,” he said.

“In the current environment, we recognize the need to be both proactive and responsive, and to dispatch tactical police from multiple locations to where they are needed.

“I don’t want the public to feel confronted, but I want them not only be safe, but to also feel safe.”

Deputy Commissioner Investigations and Special Tactics Dave Hudson said the rifles provide officers with greater strategic scope when responding to high-risk incidents.

“The rifles provide greater accuracy over distance and when combined with evolving situations, they provide an additional layer of support for our officers,” Hudson said.

Minister for Police Troy Grant welcomed the first stage of the rollout in the lead up to one of Sydney’s busiest periods with Christmas and New Year celebrations.

“The unfortunate reality of terror attacks around the world means there is a growing acceptance within the community that we need heavily-armed police to be able to be deployed when and where they are needed,” Grant said.

The national terror threat level has been set at “probable” since 2014.

A 20-year-old Australian man of Somalian parents was arrested last month for allegedly planning to “kill as many people as possible” with an assault rifle in the city of Melbourne on New Year’s Eve.

Last year, police foiled a Christmas Day terrorist plot in the same city which involved four Islamic terrorists planning to use pipe bombs.

Australian police have charged 74 people in counter-terrorism investigations since 2014, the BBC reports.

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