Victoria Police is engaged in several ongoing activities that aim to enhance our overall counter terrorism capability, many of which seek to build relationships across a range of sectors, including partner agencies and private industry.
The following activities demonstrate the breadth and diversity of some of these initiatives:
Crowded Places Network
Victoria Police coordinates the Victorian Crowded Places Network.
Membership of this group comprises owners and operators of critical infrastructure, major events venues and crowded places.
Utilising this network, information, such as key developments in the threat environment and lessons learnt through the experiences of organisations with a counter terrorism mandate, are shared by Victoria Police to enable owners and operators to take proactive steps to minimise the threat and impact of terrorism at their venues and locations.
Victoria Police SHIELD
It seeks to strengthen partnerships with the Victorian public and private security sectors through information sharing.
In addition to providing the latest information on the terrorist threat most pertinent to the needs and responsibilities of participants, SHIELD also aims to raise awareness of matters relating to protective security concepts and the latest nationally endorsed security guidelines.
Primarily aimed at partners involved in the Victorian Crowded Places Network, owners and operators of small businesses and the private security sector, the information contained within the SHIELD platform will contribute to these areas’ ongoing efforts to enhance security awareness and build resilience within the Victorian community.
SHIELD is part of the Global SHIELD Network, a collaboration between local law enforcement SHIELD initiatives worldwide.
The network provides valuable engagement opportunities between members to share information on emerging trends, capability enhancement initiatives and best practices.
Counter Terrorism Protective Security Network
The Counter Terrorism Protective Security Network (CTPSN) aims to build a network of counter terrorism trained frontline Victoria Police members.
The primary objectives of the CTPSN are:
- Facilitate broader counter terrorism capability by building a network of specially trained Victoria Police members, with a central coordination and liaison point (CTC).
- Deliver counter terrorism awareness and protective security training to network members.
- Meet responsibilities under the Australia-New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) guidelines by building partnerships with local owners and operators of crowded places.
- Provide support to police Regions for the establishment of local Crowded Places Networks and Forums.
The CTPSN will also play an important role in preparing and supporting a number of regional areas as they prepare for the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
Behavioural Observation and Suspicious Activity Recognition
Behavioural Observation and Suspicious Activity Recognition (BOSAR) provides a behavioural observation capability to assess suspicious activity in an operational setting for counter terrorism, including crowded places, public order management and dignitary protection.
It is a methodical process of observing an individual or object in their natural environment to establish a baseline from which to identify anomalies which may warrant suspicion and further investigation.
Victoria Police delivers BOSAR training to operational members and builds a network of trained front-line police members that can support our core counter terrorism focus areas of prevention, protection, disruption and response.
Training and exercising
Victoria Police engages in extensive exercising to ensure that our response to a range of scenarios is well-practiced and refined.
This exercising extends to many of our counter terrorism capabilities, either in isolation or combination, including those with a strong operational or tactical focus (for example, Special Operations Groups (SOG); negotiators; counter terrorism investigators and intelligence practitioners) to those involving decision making by Victoria Police Executive Command.
These exercises also frequently involve other Victorian, interstate and Commonwealth agencies to ensure effective interoperability.
We also provide ongoing training and awareness raising opportunities across a range of areas and functions throughout Victoria Police, from police recruits to experienced counter terrorism investigators and analysts.
Victoria Police is committed to engaging in critical reviews of internal frameworks, processes and practices that inform our operational counter terrorism activities. These have been undertaken by internal subject matter experts and independent third parties.
Our commitment to continuous improvement is also informed by coronial inquest findings and recommendations, along with research and evaluations undertaken internally and in partnership with academia.
For instance, the Applied Security Science Partnership (ASSP) recently reviewed, revised and validated our primary threat assessment tool, which is used by our counter terrorism investigators and intelligence analysts to identify and prioritise persons of interest.
It is also in the process of reviewing, with a view to identifying opportunities for enhancement, our primary early intervention program.
Collectively, these activities have significantly improved the robustness of our person of interest management processes, operational governance arrangements and intelligence sharing practices and protocols.
Reviewed 17 February 2023