Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart says he’s emailed every officer in the state to warn them of a terrorist threat mentioning Australian targets.
Queensland’s police commissioner has emailed every officer in the state, warning them of a propaganda video by terror group Islamic State which mentions Australian authorities.
The 42-minute video emerged on social media at the weekend and included a call to arms for followers to target “disbelievers”, including those in Australia, the US and Europe.
Police commissioner Ian Stewart described the material as a “very broad brush attack and threat on western democracy and our way of life”.
“I was concerned enough to send an email to all police members,” he told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.
“To identify that this speech had taken place, to give context around that, and to reassure our people that we do everything we can to minimise the risk for them.”
Mr Stewart said officers were also advised to ensure they were “appropriately kitted” to face any challenge.
Several options for extra protection were available to officers upon application, Mr Stewart said.
They included Remington rifles and ballistic vests for high-risk situations.
But the Queensland Police Service (QPS) would still prefer officers did not take their firearms home, despite Australia’s increased terror alert level and the specific mention of Australian authorities in the IS video.
“Unfortunately in the past there have been some terrible tragedies with officers taking firearms home,” Mr Stewart said.
“I never want to see a repeat of one of those tragedies.”
Mr Stewart said there was sufficient equipment to protect officers, with the number of primary firearms exceeding the number of sworn Queensland officers.
The commissioner also reiterated that there was no “known specific threat” against any Queensland person or building.
“What we need to do is make sure we are hyper-vigilant as a community,” he said.
“That we report issues that are suspicious but that we don’t get fearful and start chasing shadows.”
The Queensland Police Union (QPU) later denied Mr Stewart’s claim the QPS was adequately resourced.
President Ian Leavers said the commissioner was wrong to say there were more than enough firearms for officers.
“There are not facilities, at some police establishments, for police to be able to store their firearms,” he told reporters.
Mr Leavers said the state had only 3200 Tasers for 11,600 police.
“I’m very concerned that while we’re in a heightened sense of threat at this point in time, police are not being protected,” he said.
“God forbid anything should happen to any police officer, because it would be the commissioner who is ultimately responsible.”
Mr Leavers also criticised Mr Stewart for sending mixed messages to the QPS.
“It seems to be concerning on one hand he’s saying there’s no specific threat, and then on the other hand there is,” Mr Leavers said.
“There either is, or there isn’t.”
Officers had also encountered “road blocks” when requesting protective body armour, according to the union.
Some officers were forced to swap equipment between stations because the correct size of body armour was not available, Mr Leavers said.