New NSW police commissioner Mick Fuller believes police made a mistake by not storming the Lindt Café siege in Sydney’s Martin Place on December 15, 2014, earlier.
His view aligns with NSW coroner Michael Barnes, who today handed down his findings into the 17-hour siege, which ended in the deaths of hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, as well as the gunman Man Haron Monis.
His 495 page report following an 18-month inquiry contains 45 recommendations and concluded that police for took too long to respond once Monis fired his first shot 2.03am the next day.
“The 10 minutes that lapsed without decisive action by police was too long. Tori Johnson was executed in the meantime before the decision to entered the cafe was made,” the coroner said.
Following the release of the report, the ABC has just screened an excerpt of an interview Four Corners did with Commissioner Fuller as part of its two-part series into the siege.
He says that police believed they could use the usual tactic of “contain and negotiate” without any deaths.
Fuller says that in hindsight “we certainly should have gone in earlier. The challenge with that is it does not guarantee there will not be a loss of life.”
Coroner Michael Barnes has recommended police reconsider the “contain and negotiate” strategy in the terrorist era, saying it failed.
“I conclude that the commanders had insufficient guidance to help them assess whether the secondary, intangible trigger, the imminent risk of Monis’ killing or injuring a hostage, had escalated to a point where it outweighed the risk associated with a forced entry,” he said.
In the ABC footage, Four Corners host Sarah Ferguson asks why police did not go in the moment they saw Tori Johnson placed on his knees in a position of execution.
Fuller says police “were getting poor advice from people that led them to commit to something which turned out to be the wrong strategy at the time. Again, a deliberate action at an earlier would have been safer, while not guaranteeing no loss of life.”
Police had believed that Monis had a bomb in his backpack that he could detonate before they could stop him.
Fuller says police got it wrong by not acting immediately.
“There’s an expectation from the community, and I think it’s a fair one, that we will show force in those situations in future,” he said.
Read more from Four Corners here.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.