News National Siege puts capitals on high alert

Siege puts capitals on high alert

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While Sydney was the focus of national and international concern and scrutiny as the Martin Place siege unfolded, other Australian capitals also went on high alert with increased police presence common to most.

In several capitals, local political leaders and police chiefs offered reassurance to an increasingly anxious public. They stressed that although precautions were being taken, the Sydney siege was not part of some national terrorist incident.

In Melbourne, police numbers were boosted in response to the attack, with Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner, Tim Cartwright, saying the operation was focussing on “community reassurance”.

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“You certainly will see a higher visible police presence, not just in the CBD, but also throughout regional Victoria, shopping centre, the sorts of places that you’d expect a lot of people to be going,” Deputy Commissioner Cartwright said.

“We’re monitoring the situation, but from what we’re seeing so far, and what we’ll continue to watch, there is nothing that should be of particular concern to Victorians,” he said.

Heavily armed police ready to respond at the Sydney cafe siege. Photo: AAP

Deputy Commisser Cartwright said one of the first things police did “was dispatch uniformed police to the four Lindt shops in Victoria”. The hostage drama played out at the chain’s Martin Place cafe.

Meanwhile, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, urged Victorians to go about their business as usual.

“There is no specific threat known, or posed by these events to Victoria, or to Victorians, that is the most recent assessment that Victoria Police and other agencies have made,” Mr Andrews said.

In Brisbane, police commissioner Ian Stewart ordered every available police officer “out on to the streets”.

“We are obviously monitoring what is happening in Sydney’s Martin Place, which is very concerning and we’ve offered our assistance to New South Wales,’ Mr Stewart said.

“This is a very difficult situation for any police agency to be confronted with. It is what we train for, but it’s very, very difficult for the police but even more difficult for the people who’ve been unexpectedly caught up in this – the hostages – and we hope there will be a peaceful resolution.

“It’s important here in Queensland we make sure we get extra police out onto the streets to reassure the public that any situation that occurs here can be dealt with quickly.

“It’s more about making sure that we don’t see any copycat situations. We still don’t know the motivation of this person in Sydney and hopefully that will come out in due course .. but we are taking what we believe are appropriate actions to safeguard our community in this state.”

In Adelaide, South Australian police urged the community to go about their business as usual.

“If SAPOL becomes aware of matters impacting community safety and security, the public will be alerted,” police said in a statement, adding: “SAPOL continue to work with other police jurisdictions and Commonwealth security agencies to ensure all necessary steps are being taken to keep our community safe.”