The Courier-Mail

Po­lice fear ter­ror­ists in courts

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PO­LICE say the height­ened ter­ror­ism threat makes it es­sen­tial they be al­lowed to carry weapons in­side Queens­land courts.

New Gold Coast head mag­is­trate Chris Cal­laghan sparked a furore this week when he banned po­lice from wear­ing their ser­vice pis­tols and other pro­tec­tive equip­ment, in­clud­ing hand­cuffs, in South­port court­house.

The de­ci­sion an­gered po­lice, who fear they would be pow­er­less to stop an at­tack on a mag­is­trate, wit­ness, court of­fi­cial or fel­low of­fi­cer.

Queens­land Po­lice Union pres­i­dent Ian Leavers said yesterday the terror threat made courts even more vul­ner­a­ble.

“We are op­er­at­ing un­der a height­ened terror threat, un­der which all po­lice of­fi­cers have been in­structed to be armed at all times, yet the courts have taken away our abil­ity to pro­tect the com­mu­nity and our­selves,’’ he said.

“Po­lice have a sworn duty to pro­tect life and prop­erty, yet if our tools are taken away from us in the court precincts, this duty be­comes dif­fi­cult to ful­fil.’’ Mr Leavers said he was meet­ing with se­nior po­lice and court of­fi­cials to try to have the mat­ter re­solved “as a mat­ter of ur­gency”.

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