After lifting the terror alert level to high, authorities are ramping up security at public events including this weekend’s AFL grand final in Melbourne and the NRL preliminary finals in Sydney.
Victorian Police said they have been meeting with event organisers in preparation for tomorrow’s AFL grand final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, as well as increasing security around the ongoing Royal Melbourne Show.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright told media today that members of the public should attend these events and “enjoy them without fear”.
“We’ve revisited and re-assessed security arrangements at the stadium to provide a safe environment for all Victorians,” he said.
“While there have been no specific threats, however, what you will see is a lot more police on the grounds, screeners and ushers, as well as additional searching of bags and people.”
Cartwright said there would also be “more security at public transport access points, such as on trains and trams, as you come into the city.”
Police will assess any threats and move people out of the grounds if they are deemed credible or imminent.
“We are well rehearsed for all types of incidents and we’ve been working on potential risks to games like this since 2001,” he said.
Moving into its second week, Sydney’s Operation Hammerhead, which was launched after Australia’s largest counter-terrorism raids last week, has upped the visible presence of police, especially around Sydney’s CBD and transport hubs.
Ahead of this weekend’s two NRL games at Homebush, NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said officers were working to “reinforce a high level of public safety” and ensure the “community feels safe”.
High visibility policing in and around sporting events, transport hubs and areas of mass gatherings can be expected at least until the NRL grand final.
“It’s important this week with the football finals on that the public is reassured we will be out in numbers in the Homebush area,” Fuller said.
“In terms of the operation now, it has been a success in the last seven days, the operation centre has been running 24/7 with a strong focus on intel-based policing.
“The operation will continue over the next week and particularly over the grand final.”
While there’s usually a lot of police at football grand finals, Operation Hammerhead has about 200 police on standby, ready to be deployed anywhere across the Sydney CBD.
Fuller said the extra police will come from the city’s three metro regions and includes general duties officers, the dog squad and mounted police.
“There will certainly be more police. There will be more police in static positions,” Fuller said.
“This is not a joke from our perspective. This is really about ensuring a high level of public safety and reducing public fear.”
Bag checks will be conducted at entry points to the stadium, and “The less bags and things you bring will certainly make it easier,” Fuller said.
“You will be searched and people can expect in some cases there will be longer queues as a result.”
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