The Courier-Mail

Police course to spot future fighters


GOLD Coast police will be the first in the state to complete specialise­d training so they can identify people at risk of becoming radicalise­d.

The training is timely, with several former Queensland youths killed in the Middle East in the past two years and the Commonweal­th Games on the Gold Coast in three years.

Former St Hilda’s School student Amira Ali was killed in Syria in 2014 and former Gold Coasters Ashley Johnston and Reece Harding were killed while fighting with Kurdish forces this year.

Deputy Police Commission­er Ross Barnett revealed a number of Queensland families had approached police with concerns about loved ones becoming radicalise­d.

He said the training was not about fighting back but understand­ing.

“This course is not about training door-kicking counterter­rorist police – we have good capacity in that area,” he said.

“It’s focusing on the more softer skills of social cohesion and community engagement.”

Islamic Council of Queensland president Ismail Cajee agreed a softer approach was needed and said police could have used better methods when dealing with terror threats in the past. JESSICA ELDER

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