Staged ter­ror­ism at­tack

Po­lice and emer­gency ser­vices put to the test

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - NEWS - Jas­mine Min­has jas­mine.min­has@ coff­s­coas­tad­vo­cate.com.au

AC­TORS were writhing on the Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice Cen­tre’s floor in a scene of staged chaos as po­lice and emer­gency ser­vices’ re­sponse to a ter­ror­ist at­tack was put to the test.

Fed­er­ally-funded op­er­a­tion Ex­er­cise North­ern Ex­po­sure was de­signed to eval­u­ate agency re­sponses to a mass-ca­su­alty ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent in a re­gional set­ting.

The ex­er­cise took place in Coffs Har­bour on Thurs­day morn­ing as one of many re­gional lo­ca­tions cho­sen.

Coffs/Clarence lo­cal area com­man­der Su­per­in­ten­dent Mark Ho­la­han ad­vised the com­mu­nity there was no need for con­cern.

“The ex­er­cise is not around any spe­cific threat, it’s just an ex­er­cise that has been planned for a num­ber of months now,” he said.

“Ex­er­cises such as this send a clear mes­sage that lo­cal law en­force­ment and emer­gency ser­vice agen­cies have the nec­es­sary skills, prow­ess and prac­tised abil­ity to re­spond to a wide range of in­ci­dents.

“Ter­ror­ism and its re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties are not con­fined to ma­jor cities.”

More than 100 per­son­nel from NSW Po­lice Force, Fire and Res­cue NSW, NSW Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice and NSW SES played their part to as­sist dur­ing the sce­nario, in which dum­mies and made-up ac­tors ap­peared in­jured af­ter a ter­ror­ism­re­lated at­tack.

As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Murdoch, com­man­der of the NSW Po­lice Counter Ter­ror­ism and Spe­cial Tac­tics Com­mand, said the ex­er­cise was part of the on­go­ing com­mit­ment to a pro­gram of drill-style ex­er­cises.

“While we need to test this type of sce­nario, there is no known threat along these lines and the public should not be alarmed,” he said.

“In re­cent years we have tested our re­sponse ca­pa­bil­i­ties in a range of sit­u­a­tions and we must keep broad­en­ing our scope to en­sure our pre­pared­ness is up to the level re­quired.

“The com­mu­nity ex­pects that from us.”

While we need to test this type of sce­nario... the public should not be alarmed. — As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Murdoch

DRILL: Scenes from the train­ing day. PHO­TOS: JAS­MINE MIN­HAS

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