Australia Police Given More Powers as Terror Fears Rise

Published May 15th, 2018 - 02:00 GMT
An Australian Federal Police officer during a counter-terrorism operation in Sydney. (AFP/ File Photo)
An Australian Federal Police officer during a counter-terrorism operation in Sydney. (AFP/ File Photo)

The Australian government has passed new security laws that will empower police to freely check the identification of individuals at airports, as Australia remains on edge over fears of terrorism.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday that under the new security measures, police would no longer need a reason to request identification.

“There’s no law that requires you to [carry ID], but it’s hard to think of anyone who wouldn’t have some ID and wouldn’t be able to say a bit about themselves,” he said. “The justification for changing the law so that police at an airport can ask you to identify yourself, the justification is the safety of the Australian people.”

Under current laws, police can only request identity if they have reason to be suspicious of an individual.

Turnbull said, “Police are being trained to observe behavior. They pay very close attention to people who are looking anxious or creating a suspicious environment.”

Under a AUD-294-million (USD-226-million) security package, the government will also bolster baggage and body scanning at domestic and regional airports to match that at international ports, among other measures.

The Australian prime minister warned that the risk of terror attacks had risen in the country since several bomb attacks killed dozens of people in neighboring Indonesia this week. He said the attacks were a reminder that authorities “need to be ever vigilant” in the face of terror threats.

Over Sunday and Monday, Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, came under a string of deadly terrorist attacks, which killed dozens of people.

Earlier, police in Australia foiled a plot to down an Etihad flight in Sydney, and police say they have formerly thwarted more. But several terrorist attacks have been carried out in Australia over the past years.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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