NSW police have launched a taskforce to identify potential extremists

An image of freed hostages running from the Lindt Cafe in Sydney. Photo: Getty Images.

The New South Wales police is launching a taskforce to identify people vulnerable to Islamic State propaganda, and the potential to become terrorists.

The Fixated Persons Investigations Unit will consist of 17 detectives and mental health specialists to investigate potential suspects and related violence.

It will focus on the detection, intervention and prevention in the hope that incidents like the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege and lone-wolf terrorist Man Haron Monis will not be repeated.

Once identified, the unit will determine whether individuals should be arrested and charged with criminal offences or provided with mental health assistance.

“This unit is a unique step forward in modern policing,” NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller said.

“In recent times we’ve dealt with a number of people who aren’t classified as terrorists but are so obsessed about issues, ideals or individuals, they are plotting acts of violence.

“It is about adding another layer of protection for the community and in many cases, protecting the individuals from themselves.

“People so driven by religious, political, ideological or mental health issues that they threaten others is an emerging crime issue for law enforcement across the globe,” he said, “The creation of this unit forms part of the re-engineering process for the NSW Police Force moving forward.”

He also said that the unit will be a resource for parents worried about their children.

It’s one of a number of programs being trialled across the state to target the correlation between mental illness and Islamic State-inspired violence.

A similar measure has been successful in Queensland.

It will commence operations next Monday (May 1).