New South Wales police are being trained to shoot armed extremists on sight, in a change of policy prompted by recent terrorist attacks.
Acting Commissioner Nick Kaldas said police had ditched the “contain and negotiate” approach, which has been in place for two decades.
Mr Kaldas said new armed offender training, based on a US model, began three weeks ago with FBI-trained instructors.
The commissioner told 2UE radio it was a response to the change in the nature of terrorism.
“We’re at a point now where the ground has shifted, things have changed and starting with Mumbai onwards there’s been any number of attacks where you have a mobile enemy force, which moves through places and kills people,” he said.
“We would be mad to continue to say we will do nothing but contain and negotiate.”
However, Mr Kaldas stressed the “shoot on sight” order would not be appropriate in all circumstances.
“There may be cases where the police will need to move forward, rather than simply try and contain a place and try and negotiate with people who can certainly, as can be seen in France, will not negotiate,” he said.
Mr Kaldas said the active offender training course was in its pilot stages.
He described reports that half the officers who had taken the course had failed, as alarmist.
Mr Kaldas also said that because of interagency cooperation, Australia would be in a strong position to counteract a Paris-style terrorist attack.
He said the new program, along with lessons learned from the Sydney siege, meant the state was well prepared to respond to a terrorist attack.
“I think we are in a very good place at the moment and the cooperation between the federal sphere and the state sphere has never been better,” he said.
“We get on very well operationally, the intelligence flow is very good.”