Queensland Police allowed to take covert gear, weapons home
QUEENSLAND police officers have been told they can request to wear covert body gear and take weapons home with them during heightened risk situations.
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart also said he had sent all Queensland Police Service members and staff an email yesterday to reassure them after a 42-minute video released on Twitter two days ago issuing threats against officers.
He said he told them the service was doing everything they could to minimise the risks but noted police had a sworn duty to put themselves in harm's way to protect the community.
Islamic State spokesman Muhammad Al-Adnani has urged followers to murder Australians using any means at their disposal.
The propaganda video circulating social media mentioned Australia three times, just days after an alleged terrorist plot to randomly kill Australians was uncovered in Sydney.
"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European - especially the spiteful and filthy French - or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be," a translated transcript states.
Mr Stewart said he was concerned that Australia and law enforcement officers had been singled out.
But he said it was really "a broad brush attack and threat on western democracy and our way of life".
Mr Stewart said he did not want people to become so fearful that they confused perception with reality.
He warned against targeting specific sections of the community in Australia because of a message that has come out of Syria.
"A guy gets up in Syria, says ... I want people to rise up and commit criminal acts against Australians, and police in Australia and other things," he said.
"The ability for that to occur or the potential for that to occur is quite low. That's the reality of it.
"There is no known specific threat today right at this point in time against any target in this state, be it a building or a person.
"Indigenous people are the true Australians.
"They have been here for many thousands of years.
"The rest of us have come from some other place.
"The strength of our society is our diversity and the way we are inclusive and tolerant.
"The likelihood of people rising up in our midst and doing evil, in other words committing atrocities and crimes against the rest of the community, I still think is at that medium to high level.
"Probably one of our greatest weaknesses is we still have those people who don't really respect other cultures and religion.
"Realistically many of those we could brand as rednecks and they're the type of people who do the graffiti, the graffiting and the other un-Queensland and un-Australian acts against those cultures.
"What I also ask the entire community to do is to work solidly with us so that we can identify and take action against those people wherever possible."
Mr Stewart, responding to questions from the media, said officers could apply to wear covert body armour if they wished but there were workplace health and safety issues, especially with the climate in Queensland.
He said there were other vests available to all officers at all times that offered greater protection.
Mr Stewart said he preferred officers did not take weapons home with them because he did not want a repeat of "terrible tragedies" that had happened in the past.
"But where there is a heightened state of risk, for instance in the duties that officer is currently doing, we have many officers who actually do that," he said.
"They can't carry it off duty."
- APN NEWSDESK