New tools for rural terrorism
New funding will see Victorian police armed with 300 high-powered rifles to help combat terrorist attacks in regional areas.
Over 700 officers from the public order response team and stations in Geelong, Ballarat, Morwell and Shepparton will be trained to use the rifles as part of a new scheme expected to run until the end of 2021.
The firearms are for major events and high-risk situations.
“If we do need them, it'll be a very bad day because what we will have is a critical incident,” Deputy Commisioner Shane Patton said.
“We will have a terrorist incident or an active armed offender, or an incident of mass violence.
“My understanding is this is the first time police in Victoria have used these weapons.”
The.223 calibre rifles, which boast a range of about 300m, will be secured in special carriage systems.
“Unfortunately, the world situation is changing,” Police Minister Lisa Neville said.
“What we have seen across the world with active shooters, with hostage situations and terrorism, we need to make sure that our police have the right equipment to respond as quickly as possible."
“This does mean regional areas now have a much faster capability to respond ... and not have to wait for those resources from Melbourne.”
The Government has made a $25 million order for the rifles from suppliers Huntsman Aus.