The NSW Police Commissioner says he is looking at building the capacity of the anti-terrorism squad focused on right-wing extremists in the wake of yesterday’s Christchurch shooting.
- Australia’s terrorist rating remains at “probable” following the Christchurch attacks
- NSW police are looking local right-wing extremists
- NSW police are meeting with Muslim leaders today to discuss any security concerns
Speaking this morning following revelations accused shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant spent time in the NSW city of Grafton, Commissioner Michael Fuller said the threat of lone-wolf actors was “an emerging risk”, and an area police were looking at closely.
“We do monitor them,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“We have arrested right-wing extremists in this state. We have criminal orders against right-wing extremists. We take it seriously.
“We know that in some western countries it is an emerging risk and we’re certainly looking at it closely, but we are also taking action against those in NSW and we will continue [to do so], and if I need to continue to build our capability in the right-wing extremist area, we will do that.”
The Commissioner said the national terrorist rating had not changed and there were “no active threats” on the radar in NSW following yesterday’s attack in New Zealand which left 49 people dead, however he said authorities were continuing to monitor the situation “24-7”.
“The national terrorist rating stands at probable,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“[And] I want to reassure the people of NSW there are no active threats in NSW linked to what we saw, the terrible crime that we saw in Christchurch.”
NSW Police say they are focused on “lone wolf actors” following the Christchurch attack. (AP: Mark Baker)
Muslim communities in NSW last night held prayers at Lakemba Mosque — one of the biggest mosques in the country — after the shootings at two Christchurch mosques, while local Kiwi ex-pat groups are set to gather in Sydney today.
NSW police are also meeting with the Australian National Imams Council this morning to discuss any potential security measures.
Police said the accused gunman was not known to authorities here. After finishing high school he worked at a gym in Grafton, in NSW’s Northern Rivers region from 2009 to 2011.
He then left to travel in Asia and in Europe. Police are today conducting enquiries in the Northern Rivers region, with Mr Tarrant’s relatives approaching the police yesterday to help them with their investigation.
NSW Police said Mr Tarrant had spent “considerable time” in New Zealand after leaving the NSW town and was living in Dunedin before yesterday’s attack.
A vigil was held at Lakemba, one of Australia’s largest mosques, in Sydney’s south-west on Friday night. (ABC News: Nour Haydar)
“In terms of this individual, we will be conducting a two-pronged investigation,” he said.
“One to assist the New Zealand police clearly, and the second is to make sure that he hasn’t slipped through the cracks and to make sure there is information there that we need to act on now to protect the community of NSW.
“Now, we are looking at that very closely and there are no links back to NSW at the moment.
“There are no threats in relation to his activities in NSW at the moment. We will continue to monitor that 24-7, to make sure two things: one, we are assisting the New Zealand police and the New Zealand Government, but secondly, we are protecting the people of NSW.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined the local Muslim community last night for prayers.
“I want to extend our deepest condolences to all New Zealanders, to all members of the Muslim community, and to all people who are feeling the deep shock and grief,” the Premier said.
“And I want to say again to the Muslim community here and in New Zealand and around the world, our thoughts and prayers are with you all.”