Australia’s police force is on high terror alert, following the increase of the national police terror threat level from medium to high.
Police officers are being advised to take extra precautions around their personal safety while both on and off duty.
Acting Western Australia police commissioner Stephen Brown said some of the simplest lifestyle changes could make a big difference to the safety of officers across the country.
“I would normally hang my police shirt on a hook in my private vehicle on the way to and from work,” he said.
“Now I simply lay it on the back seat.”
Brown said that it’s not just the officers in blue shirts who need to be improve their awareness.
“We’ve got a lot of public servants working very hard for the community,” he said.
“We’re concerned about the whole community. That’s the picture here, and that’s what changed back in September.”
He said a call for assistance can turn out to be something different.
“All police officers should be wearing all of the tools we provide them,” Brown said.
Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart said there was “no one specific incident” which led to the increased risk to police.
“The new threat level specifically has taken into account attacks on police internationally,” Stewart said.
“These threats and the actions you’ve seen perpetrated across the world can happen very much randomly, with no notice, and in any way, shape or form.”
In a media statement NSW Police said officers regularly faced dangerous conditions and a hazardous work environment.
“As first responders to emergencies and violent incidents, police officers are regularly placed in high risk situations. Safety arrangements for NSW Police will continue to be actively reviewed,” NSW Police said.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) said the terror threat level against police was raised to high, in line with the broader threat level for the community.
“Recent events in France, Canada and Australia serve as a sobering reminder of the risks associated with policing,” the AFP said in a statement.
“While relatively small, there are increasing numbers of Australians who are connected with or inspired by overseas terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with the intent and capability to conduct an attack against police.”
The AFP said these policies remain under active review.
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