Australian Federal Police Protection (AFP) officers will now be armed with short-barrelled rifles (SBRs) and specialised first-response-capabilities in designated Australian airports from today.
“There is no elevated threat level in airports. The rollout is designed to ensure Australia aligns with world-best-practice for counter terrorism first response activity. It is vital we are equipped to respond immediately with the appropriate resources to any situation in the airport environment,” Commissioner Kershaw said.
“Members of the public should be aware while there will be no changes to the way they move through Australian airports, they will start seeing Protection Operation Response Team (PORT) officers patrolling alongside general duties members, specialised firearm and explosive detection canines and Rapid Appraisal Officers; who are responsible for rapid, targeted assessment of potential explosive threats.”
“The roll out comes as part of a Government funded program to bolster response capability and protect the travelling public in busy environments. This is an additional capacity which will provide greater support for officers responding to high-risk incidents and ensure continuing safety for the travelling public,” Commissioner Kershaw said.
The PORT members will be equipped with the Daniel Defense Mk 18 SBRs as well as body worn cameras. The SBRs provide a greater strategic scope and accuracy over distance. This capability will allow officers to respond from a greater distance and when combined with rapidly evolving situations, will provide an additional layer of support for first responders.
Protection Operation Response Teams equipped with SBRs will begin deploying immediately, and over the next 12 months will become a common sight at Australian airports. Officers will be trained on their new capabilities and will be required to undergo annual re-validation training.