Message from the Chief Commissioner
The Victorian security environment, and the local and international events and dynamics that shape it, are highly complex and fluid.
The changes that we’ve witnessed since the release of the Victoria Police Counter Terrorism Strategy 2018-2021 is testament to the volatile, and even unpredictable, nature of elements of this environment.
Since 2018 we’ve seen a number of significant events both locally and overseas, including terrorist attacks in Bourke Street (2018) and Christchurch (2019), whilst in the Middle East the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continued to lose the little territory it held, and in 2021 the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
COVID-19 too has likely impacted the threat environment in various ways, including through the creation of contextual or environmental factors that can contribute to individuals’ vulnerability to radicalisation to violence.
Since 2018, Victoria Police’s counter terrorism activities too have undergone significant change in its efforts to mitigate the threat and potential effects of terrorism.
Across all our key counter terrorism focus areas of prevention, disruption, protection and response, Victoria Police has engaged in a process of both change and consolidation to ensure our activities are best aligned to the current and future threat. For instance, our efforts to stop individuals becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism continues to expand and remains a high priority.
Through the substantial efforts of our Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Unit and the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (VFTAC), Victoria Police engages individuals with increasingly diverse ideological views and motivations.
As we gain more experience working in this complex field, we also continue to identify opportunities for improvement and innovation, including in how we coordinate our activities with government and non-government partners.
As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we have also invested heavily in other key areas of our counter terrorism work. For instance, our Counter Terrorism Command recently reviewed, revised and validated its primary threat assessment tool, which is used by our counter terrorism investigators and intelligence analysts to identify and prioritise persons of interest. This activity is reflective of our strong commitment to decision making and practices grounded in empirically based evidence and research.
Consistent with our view that knowledge sharing optimises decision making, encourages collaboration and is central to the mitigation of the terrorist threat, we have implemented programs such as Victoria Police SHIELD. An information sharing arrangement with the Victorian public and private security sectors, SHIELD seeks to raise awareness among our partners of the threat environment and their protective security responsibilities.
Finally, and with an eye to the future, we have also in recent times worked closely with our Victorian and Commonwealth colleagues in the development of legislation and supporting implementation frameworks to protect the community from convicted terrorists who may continue to pose a threat. This is a high priority for Victoria Police as the number of convicted terrorists due for release back into the community will increase in the coming years.
While the threat environment and our counter terrorism arrangements continue to evolve, what remains unchanged is the importance of partnerships. From the work we do with our law enforcement and intelligence partners across the country, to our engagement with community groups and academia, Victoria Police’s diverse counter terrorism activities benefit immensely from these relationships.
This renewed Strategy aims to identify the key terrorist-related threats and how Victoria Police intends, through a combination of consolidation and innovation, to address these over the next 4 years. It is also intended to serve as a reaffirmation of our commitment to safeguarding the Victorian community from the threat of terrorism, in all its forms.
I am pleased to present the Victoria Police Counter Terrorism Strategy 2022-2025.
To protect Victoria from, prevent, investigate, and disrupt incidents of terrorism and communal violence through an intelligence-led, evidence based and proactive policing response.
Reviewed 17 February 2023