News State Victoria Terror fear prompts massive Anzac weekend security blitz

Terror fear prompts massive Anzac weekend security blitz

Packed with spectators, the MCG presents an obvious target for terror, say police, who will mark Anzac Day with a massive presence. Photo Getty
Tweet Share Reddit Pin Email

Security will be bolstered across Victoria on Anzac Day as police prepare to protect major events, with Sydney likewise implementing comprehensive  measures to minimise the risk of terror attacks.

In Melbourne the Shrine of Remembrance, the annual march, and the AFL game between Collingwood and Essendon will be protected with barriers, and by uniformed and plainclothes police in a bid to foil truck attacks like those that have shaken Europe over the past 12 months.

Victoria Police acting Commander Peter O’Neill would not release exact police numbers or detailed security plans for the day but said the force is prepared.

“Vehicle-borne attacks and lone wolf attacks are all with us these days” Mr O’Neill said on Friday.

He was referring to an incident overnight in France, where a policeman was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting claimed by Islamic State.

Security at Victoria’s major events remain heightened two years after a terror threat was made against the dawn service and just months after a man drove into pedestrians in Bourke Street Mall.

People travelling into the city for the AFL game at the MCG on Anzac Day have been urged to take public transport.

The nation’s terror threat level remains “probable”.

In Sydney, authorities Police have sought to reassure the public ahead of Anzac Day gatherings, saying there is no intelligence to suggest there is an increased risk of terror attacks.

But as preparations gained speed on Friday, Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch conceded lone wolf-style attacks, such as the murder of a french policeman in Paris by an Islamic terrorist, were difficult to prevent.

A French policeman was shot dead and two others were wounded in central Paris on Thursday night in an attack claimed by the Islamic State militant group.

Mr Murdoch likened the incident to the shooting death in Parramatta of police accountant Curtis Cheng in 2015.

“Our threat profile here in Australia, and particularly NSW, is for that lone actor-style of attack – that’s what we are working very hard to prevent,” he said in Sydney.

“There is no specific intelligence to suggest Anzac Day is at any increased level of threat, but lone-actor attacks … are very, very difficult to prevent.”

Mr Murdoch said police numbers would be comparable to previous Anzac Day events, with “a large number” of officers patrolling dawn services and the march.

“Police will, as the community would expect of us, put in place those arrangements we feel necessary to protect the public and ensure a safe event,” he said.

Sydneysiders will also experience an increased police presence this weekend as US Vice President Mike Pence jets into the city for the Australian leg of his Asia-Pacific tour.

Mr Murdoch said all NSW Police members had been advised not to be complacent in the wake of the Paris shooting.

“Indeed, we convey that same message to the community – to not be alarmed but alert, vigilant and … if they see something, say something,” he said.

– with AAP and ABC