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24/7 AFP airport squads for Australia?

How worried are you about safety at major Aussie airports?

The Victorian government will push for the introduction of a permanent 24-hour specialist federal police squad at airports amid growing concerns over traveller safety.


Responding to potential terrorism threats, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state government would lobby for the move, along with other security measures, at today’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Hobart, the ABC reported.


Police onboard an MH flight (Image Andrew Leoncelli)


The Premier said 24-hour tactical support by the AFP would improve responses to threats at airports.


"We live in uncertain times," Mr Andrews said.


"The Tullamarine Airport, the Avalon Airport, these are federal assets and I think the time has come for us to have a dedicated 24-7 tactical response.


"When you think about across the world, airports have so often been the target. We need to take that next step."


Victoria also wants the power to disable mobile phone networks during major events, among other additional safety initiatives.


"There are ways in which we can disable the mobile phone network and then provide one point of information - perhaps at a sporting venue on the large electronic scoreboard - that guides people on how to evacuate, guides people on how to avoid stampedes, crushes, those sorts of things."


The recommendations come as Victoria announced it will be boosting its police presence over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend following a deadly siege in Brighton, as well as recent attacks in the UK.


Victorian police were criticised for leaving passengers on board a Malaysia Airlines plane for 90 minutes last week after a 25-year-old Sri Lankan national allegedly tried to enter the cockpit while carrying a "speaker-type" object and screaming he had a bomb.


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 8 June 2017

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