Victoria spends big on anti-terror measures
The Victorian Government has unveiled plans to spend close to $50 million on new counter-terrorism capabilities for police.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the $49.4 million in new funding pay for 88 counter-terrorism specialists, including 40 sworn police officers as well as intelligence experts and forensic analysts.
“It would be wrong for us to kid ourselves that these challenges are not real,” he said.
“Recent events in Paris and in other parts of the world show that we can never be complacent when it comes to the threat of violent extremists.”
The package effectively doubles the state's counter-terrorism resources.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the force was stretched by the state’s terrorism threats.
“This is an area that has been stretching us now for a while, because it's been the case that we've had more and more people in the area of counter-terrorism that we've had to have concerns about,” he said.
“It continues to grow at an increasing rate.”
Mr Ashton said police had been seeking to stop attacks by “lone-actors”, but the required response was now far more complex.
“The recent events in Europe demonstrate that more complex plots are becoming more prominent and that adds to the complexity of the threat that Victoria Police has to manage and try to deal with,” he said.
“We have prevented numerous attacks in recent years and we'll continue to do that.”
Police services are being strained by a large number of calls to the National Security Hotline too, he said.
“They number in the hundreds, and that's certainly something that has been stretching us,” Mr Ashton said.
“It's looking at vast amounts of information and looking for a golden thread somewhere that may lead to us identifying a threat.
“It's the one that we ignore that might be the important one.”
The funding will pay for more counter-terrorism investigations, prevention work (including monitoring social media), and specialist equipment to help with terrorist threats.