OUR SAY: Community should be alert, not alarmed

IN DUBBO: Counter Terrorism Command, Capability and Protective Security Group Commander Albert Joseph  and Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
IN DUBBO: Counter Terrorism Command, Capability and Protective Security Group Commander Albert Joseph and Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Be alert, but not alarmed. 

That was the message emergency services and business owners were given on Wednesday when the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command held their Crowded Places forum for 2018 in Dubbo. 

While Terrorism may seem like a topic that only ever happens in city areas, in this day and age it is an important one for the Western communities to address. 

Around 30 business owners and operators attended the forumn on Wednesday. 

They were given advice around the theme ‘weapons and tactics’, hostile vehicle mitigation, active armed offender situations and explosives. 

In 2018, with everything that happens in the world, terrorism is a threat in all areas – not just the city. 

There is no difference between the possibility or likelihood of a crowded places act of terrorism in metropolitan Sydney or Dubbo, regional NSW. 

The risk comes from the fact that the inteternet is seeing people radicalised very quickly and messages are irculated globally calling for attacks on crowded places anywhere in Western countries. 

These people are on the radar. It doesn’t have to be a terrorism incident that we are looking out for – it could be the start. 

In the past police say they have had people have come to regional areas to train, whether it be in fitness, weapons or slaughtering animals. 

Our emergency services are on the look out every day, keeping us safe. 

Just last year an incident in the rural town of Young highlighted the need for people to be aware. A man charged with terrorism related offences and has since appeared before the courts. He remains in jail awaiting trial. It was an incident the small community didn’t see coming, but one that had been on police radar for some time before the man was arrested. 

A lot is happening in the background when it comes to terrorism, but we can’t just leave it up to those trained to deal with these situations. 

So remember, when you are out in the community, travelling around the region or to a wider area, be alert to your surroundings, but not alarmed. 

If you see an incident you believe should be investigated, you can contact your local police, or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400. In an emergency always dial 000.