Soldiers conduct a search of the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village.
Soldiers conduct a search of the 2018 Commonwealth Games athletes’ village.

Inside the massive Games security operation

AUSTRALIA'S most elite commandos will be deployed to the Commonwealth Games as police reveal the extraordinary measures in place to keep athletes and spectators safe.

Hundreds of covert officers with specialist training learnt after the Boston Marathon bombings will blend into crowds to identify terrorists and others acting suspiciously.

Police on foot will livestream major incidents via mobile phones to give real-time intel in the event of a terror attack.

Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team Tactical Operators prepare to conduct drill rehearsals for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team Tactical Operators prepare to conduct drill rehearsals for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Drones used by the public will be "taken out" and vehicles and people will be separated with airport-style checkpoints that can test for explosives and hazardous ­materials in unprecedented safety measures never been seen on the Gold Coast.

Officers will also have extra powers inside special security zones to frisk-search people and their bags without suspicion, search and seize cars and search front yards of properties with detection dogs.

The massive security operation involves about 3700 Queensland police officers, 1500 Australian Defence Force personnel and 4300 security personnel.

Tactical Assault Group East - a special forces counter-terrorism unit - will be on hand to respond to any major incident, along with national security agencies, such as ASIO, Australian Federal Police and Border Force.

Police Deputy Commissioner and Commonwealth Games commander Steve Gollschewski at Police HQ in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner
Police Deputy Commissioner and Commonwealth Games commander Steve Gollschewski at Police HQ in Brisbane. Picture: Steve Pohlner

Commonwealth Games Commander Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said that the terror threat in Australia remained probable but police were prepared for anything after years of preparation.

"What we focused on very strongly, and I'll be very honest, the big one is terrorism," Mr Gollschewski said.

"We planned towards that.

"Our security design has been to accommodate all the various modes of attack that could happen, say things like vehicle attacks, snipers, explosives and even hoaxes."

Highly trained Special Emergency Response Team officers, who include snipers, the Public Safety Response Team and bomb squad will be on hand, with specialists from South Australia and Northern Territory police forces also based on the coast.

Australian Army Sapper Nicholas Field from 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment inspects a water main during a search of the 2018 Commonwealth Games athlete’s village.
Australian Army Sapper Nicholas Field from 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment inspects a water main during a search of the 2018 Commonwealth Games athlete’s village.

Army engineers will search venues and divers will search waterways.

Police have looked at worst-case scenarios such as an armed attack by a terrorist, a hijack which involved crashing a plane, a vehicle attack, or the threats of drones, Mr Gollschewski said.

Police have a special drone gun that can effectively force-land any craft located in restricted airspace.

General-duties officers have taken active armed offender training, which includes taking down a shooter rather than detain them.

Police have a list of persons of security-concerns interest and of a Queensland Fixated Threat Assessment Centre that listed people who were fixated rather than ­radicalised.

"We are aware of a number of people in both areas," Mr Gollschewski said.

Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team Tactical Operators await the all-clear signal as part of their on-load and off-load familiarisation drills with an Australian Army MRH90 helicopter.
Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team Tactical Operators await the all-clear signal as part of their on-load and off-load familiarisation drills with an Australian Army MRH90 helicopter.

He said that crowded areas were really difficult, but police had strategies and experts on the ground.

Officers trained in Behaviour Observation and Suspicious Activity Recognition, known as BOSAR, will tell Police Communications about people who are not meeting the "baseline behaviour of the crowd." Officers would then approach the person and could search or detain them.

The training is designed to stop terror incidents such as the Boston bombing, which killed three and the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 23.

"If you look at the Boston marathon bombers, they exhibited behaviour that were completely against the crowd, as did the guy in Manchester," Mr Gollschewski said.

"So, we've got the trained BOSAR people who are specifically trained and will be placed in the right places to detect those sort of people and those sort of behaviours."

Officers will also livestream any incidents.

Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team fly over the Gold Coast in an Australian Army MRH90 helicopter.
Queensland Police Service Special Emergency Response Team fly over the Gold Coast in an Australian Army MRH90 helicopter.

"At any given time, pretty well from the joint emergency services co-ordination centre on the Gold Coast, we can pretty well see everything that is happening either from live-streaming from Polair or ­people on the ground," Mr Gollschewski said.

"We want vision so will use the iPhone and livestream it back to the command post and get proper vision of it."

He said the games would be more complex than the G20 meet in Brisbane in 2014 because there were areas that needed a higher level of security to keep people safe over a much longer period, over more venues and transport corridors, including the "last mile" where people would walk to access venues and festival areas.

Mr Gollschewski said there was in-depth planning to protect dignitaries such as Prince Charles. "There has been a long lead-in time planning around not just his visit for the Games, but also his broader visits, where he will stay, how he will be looked after, how we will link with royal protection," he said.

He also said foreign security would not be allowed to use their own firearms.

ADANI ACTIVISTS ON NOTICE

POLICE are anticipating protests from anti-Adani activists during the Commonwealth Games and have issued a warning to anyone planning on disrupting the enjoyment or safety of spectators.

Stop Adani told The Courier-Mail that it did not have any plans to protest during the Games, however Frontline ­Action on Coal (FLAC) did not comment.

It comes after Dawson MP George Christensen called for activists to start undertaking community service instead of being issued with fines after protesters started seeking financial assistance from the community to help them pay back more than $79,000.

Some anti-Adani protests are expected at the Commonwealth Games, police say.
Some anti-Adani protests are expected at the Commonwealth Games, police say.

When asked whether Police were expecting anti-Adani protests, a spokesman said with an event of this nature, it was anticipated there would be "some level of protest activity".

"The Queensland Police Service's Commonwealth Games Engagement Team have developed relationships with various protest groups over the past 18 months and acknowledges their rights to protest," he said.

"The Engagement Team and key partners continue to engage with these groups in an effort to facilitate peaceful and lawful protest activities."

The spokesman said that if a protest posed a risk to the ­enjoyment, safety or dignity of those at the Games, police would "respond appropriately". It comes after police visited the activists' Bowen base camp last weekend.

News Corp Australia


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