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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