World

NSW police to get shoot-to-kill power in terrorist-related incidents

SYDNEY Police in Australia's most populous state will be allowed to shoot suspects in "terrorist related" incidents even if the attacker does not pose an imminent threat under a proposed law, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday.

The change comes after a series of "lone wolf" Islamist-inspired attacks, the most serious of which raised questions about the traditional police strategy of "contain and negotiate" in hostage situations.

Under the proposal, which is likely to be adopted by the state's Parliament given the support for it, lethal force can be used immediately if an incident is declared "terrorist related" by the state's most senior police officer, Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Currently, police have to wait until a suspect demonstrates an imminent threat to others.

Authorities said that law curtailed their ability to end a 2014 siege in Sydney's Lindt Cafe in which three people, including the hostage-taker, were killed.

Mr Mick Fuller, Commissioner of State Police, said the change was needed to correct a "grey area".

Police waited more than 16 hours before storming the cafe, and then only after the attacker had killed a hostage. A coroner said last month police had failed to respond quickly enough. - REUTERS

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