Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism
Crowded places are locations which are easily accessible by large numbers of people on a predictable basis. They may be stadiums, shopping centres, pedestrian malls or major events, and will continue to be attractive targets for terrorists. A crowded place will not necessarily be crowded at all times: crowd densities may vary between day and night, by season, and may be temporary, as in the case of sporting events, festivals, or one-off events.
Attacks on crowded places overseas, demonstrate how basic weapons (including vehicles, knives, and firearms) can be used by terrorists to devastating effect. Australia’s National Terrorism Threat Level remains PROBABLE. ASIO advise individuals and groups continue to possess the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia. This includes threats to members of the public and locations where large crowds gather. The threat is not confined to any one city.
A range of factors can shape terrorist target selection. In most cases, the location itself is not the target – it is the high volume and concentration of people that makes a crowded place attractive to attack. While some crowded places have other attractive features, any location that concentrates large crowds could be an attractive target.
All owners and operators of crowded places have the primary responsibility for protecting their sites, including a duty of care to take steps to protect people that work, use or visit their site from a range of foreseeable threats, including the threat of terrorist attack. This includes:
- Responsibility to undertake a risk assessment and/or vulnerability analysis of their crowded place, and implement the appropriate mitigations, monitor them for effectiveness (including through audits), and review them at appropriate junctures.
- Developing, implementing, and regularly testing a comprehensive security plan as a matter of good business and corporate responsibility.
- Responsibility to understand what the current terrorist threat environment means for the security of their site, including how security arrangements and plans may need to adapt to a change in the national threat level.
- Responsibility to raise awareness of possible security threats among their staff and patrons.
- Understand the main factors that influence terrorist target selection
- Report any security incidents or suspicious activity to law enforcement at the earliest opportunity.
The Tasmanian government has the primary responsibility for preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from terrorist attacks in Tasmania. The protection and resilience of crowded places – particularly those at an elevated security risk – is a key focus of the governments. While the owners and operators of crowded places remain responsible for implementing protective security measures, state and territory governments acknowledge that responsibility for building and sustaining resilience to terrorism is shared between government, owners and operators, and communities.
Tasmania Police is responsible for providing threat information to owners and operators of crowded places. Police provide specific information on the local threat context to help owners and operators develop protective security measures. Police may also provide protective security guidance in some instances.
All communities and individuals have a responsibility to help detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in crowded places. Everyone working in or using a crowded place should be aware of their surroundings and report suspicious or unusual behaviour to authorities.
In life threatening situations, everyone should phone 000. Suspicious or unusual behaviour should be reported to local police by phoning 131 444, or by contacting the National Security Hotline on 1800 1234 00, if the information is not time-critical.
National Strategy for the Protection of Crowded Places From Terrorism
Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism has been developed to protect the lives of people working in, using, and visiting crowded places by making these places more resilient. The Strategy is based on strong, trusted partnerships between all levels of government and those responsible for crowded places. It aims to make crowded places as resilient as possible to terrorist attacks while preserving our use and enjoyment of these places.
The Strategy is supported by supplementary materials designed to increase understanding of the threat posed by particular weapons and tactics, and provide guidance on the issues and options for consideration during risk mitigation and contingency planning activities. The materials include:
- Crowded Places Security Audit
- Crowded Places Self-Assessment Tool
- Active Armed Offender Guidelines
- Improvised Explosive Device Guidelines
- Chemical Weapon Guidelines for Crowded Places
- Hostile Vehicle Guidelines for Crowded Places.
The success of this Strategy rests on strong and sustainable partnerships across Australia between government and the private sector to better protect crowded places. By providing owners and operators of crowded places access to better threat and protective security information, it is anticipated they will be in a better position to protect their crowded places from terrorism.
But, even the most robust and thorough protective security plan may not stop a terrorist attack on a crowded place from occurring or succeeding. Hardening and improving the resilience of crowded places relies on all stakeholders taking action to apply this Strategy. The Strategy involves four core elements:
- Building Stronger Partnerships
- Enabling Better Information Sharing and Guidance
- Implementing Effective Protective Security
- Increasing Resilience
If you have completed the self-assessment tool and security audit and require further information from Tasmania Police, please contact SRCT@police.tas.gov.au.
Crowded Places Forums
In addition to providing threat information to owners and operators of crowded places, Tasmania Police is also responsible for running and administering Crowded Places Forums. These Forums are the primary means of collective engagement between Tasmania Police and local owners and operators of crowded places, including businesses and local councils. Members of the Crowded Places Forum can share information, guidance, and lessons learned relevant to their local circumstances. The Special Response and Counter-Terrorism Command (SRCT) provides secretariat support to these forums, which will be held regionally, up to twice a year. Invitations for the first of these Forums have been sent and arrangements are being made within the North West, North and South of Tasmania for the end of August.
As these Forums evolve, SRCT will seek input on future activities and methods of communication within the regions. We will continue to update this page and provide advice on Forums as information becomes available and as changes are made.
If you and require further information please contact SRCT@police.tas.gov.au.