Military-style assault rifles for Coast cops
FEDERAL police officers armed with military-style rifles will begin patrolling the Gold Coast Airport from early next year under a new nationwide anti-terror crackdown.
The Federal Government will today announce a $107 million boost to expand the AFP's airport patrols
Gold Coast Airport will be among the first to receive a new protection operation response team (PORT), made up of six officers including a leader, explosive detection dog and handler.
The officers will be armed with high-powered Daniel Defense Mk18 Short-Barrel Rifles (SBRs) and body-worn cameras.
Team members will be specially trained in using the rifle, which is based on the AR-15 M4.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 135 additional officers would be rolled out over the next 18 months.
"My first priority is to keep Australians safe and these new measures will help protect thousands of Australians that travel and visit airports every day," he said.
"We will take no chances when it comes to keeping the community safe and these new enforcement officers will now have increased firearms and protection capabilities to respond to a changing crime environment.
"These highly trained officers run towards dangerous incidents, not away from it, and it is vital they have every resource necessary to help them do their job and protect the community."
PORT teams have been trialled in the Brisbane and Canberra airports.
The next teams will be posted on the Gold Coast and in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, followed in 2021 by Cairns, Adelaide and Darwin.
The national terror threat level has remained at "probable'' since September 2014.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the rollout of extra officers was based on longstanding ASIO threat assessment advice.
"Recent global events serve as an important reminder that the threat posed to the public by terrorism and other crime types hadn't diminished," he said.
"This national rollout is a necessary and timely measure to counter aviation security threats and will support the dedicated officers of the AFP in protecting our community."