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Government Response to the State Coroner’s report, "Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege"

Published 8th June, 2017 in Cabinet

The NSW Government has accepted and supported all 45 recommendations made by NSW State Coroner Michael Barnes.

Legislation will be introduced to provide police with clear powers if required to use force to keep the community safe from terrorism. There will also be legislation to tighten provisions around parole by requiring onsideration of links to terrorism.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government must be vigilant to the emerging and evolving risks of terrorism.

“NSW will continue to have the toughest counter-terror laws in the country and we will now give our police clear protections if they need to use lethal force against terrorists,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“My thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson, as well as the other hostages caught up in the Lindt Café Siege.

“I also take this opportunity to once again acknowledge the bravery of the police and first responders who put their lives on the line during the events of December 15 and 16, 2014."

Government Response to the State Coroner’s report, Inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt Café siege

This table last updated 1 December 2017.

No.RecommendationGovernment Response

1

Office of DPP (ODPP) file management

I recommend that the Director of Public Prosecutions initiate reviews of the training in file management given to lawyers employed by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to ensure important original documents are not discarded and that files accurately reflect relevant events.

Completed

The ODPP has reviewed the training in file management given to lawyers employed by the ODPP to address the issues identified in the recommendation. The ODPP has developed standard operating procedures for file management to give effect to the outcomes of the review.

2

Guidelines for when to arrest

I recommend that the Commissioner of Police issue guidelines to assist officers to determine when they should exercise powers of arrest and take an accused into custody rather than proceeding by a court attendance notice.

Completed

The Commissioner has issued guidance to address the issues identified in the recommendation.  

3

Access to criminal histories

I recommend that the Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LCCSC) develop a mechanism to ensure that all information on criminal history (including bail) that is relevant to the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences is readily accessible to police and prosecutors across all Australian jurisdictions.

Supported

NSW agencies are working with interjurisdictional colleagues to implement this recommendation.    

4

Policy concerning bail concessions

I recommend that the DPP develop a policy for overseeing lawyers’ exercise of the discretion not to oppose bail that takes into account the seriousness of the offences involved; the experience of the prosecutor appearing; and the views of the police officer in charge of the investigation, insofar as those views are based on facts on relevant to bail determinations.

Completed

The DPP has implemented a policy – the Bail Policy – which addresses the issues identified in the recommendation.

5

Review of Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) Management Operation Guidelines

I recommend the NSWPF review the Management Operational Guidelines to resolve any inconsistency between them and relevant counterterrorist protocols.

Completed

The NSWPF has conducted an extensive review of the Management Operational Guidelines, now referred to as the Tactical Operations Unit (TOU) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to resolve any identified inconsistencies relevant counterterrorist protocols.

6

Review of logging systems

The development (recommended in Chapter 12) of an integrated  intelligence system that allows police officers to secure access to all information platforms should also provide for the recording of all command decisions and the reasons for them, and for the dissemination of those decisions.

Ongoing

The NSWPF is working to implement a technical solution that addresses the issues raised in this recommendation.

7

Documenting changes to line command

I recommend that the NSWPF remedy the lack of detailed guidance on how State Protection Group officers should interact and communicate with the Police Forward Commander, and that such guidance should be included in policy documents and reinforced with training.

Completed

The NSWPF has updated TOU SOPs, Negotiation Unit SOPs and the NSW Police Force Police Command Guidelines to address the issues raised in the recommendation.

The NSW Police Force Command Guidelines take into consideration the draft National Police Command Guidelines, which are currently awaiting ANZCTC endorsement.

The guidance documents will be reinforced with training. 

8

Police Forward Commander’s scope of responsibility

I recommend that the NSWPF review the division of tasks among the various officers responsible for responding to major high-risk situations to enable Police Forward Commanders to focus exclusively on their primary goals and that officers engaged in matters not directly related to the resolution of the incident be required to report an officer other than the Police Forward Commander.

Completed

The NSWPF has undertaken a review of the relevant arrangements, with a particular focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities, to address the issues raised in the recommendation. Relevant guidance material has been updated.

9

Transfer of 000 calls

I recommend that the NSWPF establish procedures and the technical capability to ensure that telephone calls from hostages in sieges or the victims of other ongoing high-risk situations are expeditiously transferred to officers involved in responding to the incident.

Completed

Procedures have been implemented to ensure the expeditious transfer of calls to relevant officers during a high-risk situation. 

10

Integrated intelligence platform

I recommend that the NSWPF investigate the development of an integrated intelligence system that allows selected officers secure access to all information platforms and to record and share operational decisions.

Ongoing

The NSWPF is working to implement a technical solution that addresses the issues raised in this recommendation.

11

Pro-forma debriefing sheets

I recommend that the NSWPF consider developing a pro-forma debriefing sheet containing standard questions relevant to all or most high-risk situations, which can be supplemented by the negotiation coordinator and the tactical commander to maximise the likelihood that all available relevant information will be obtained during hostage debriefings. Such measures would also aid contemporaneous documentation of information derived from debriefs and assist in relaying all relevant information to command.

Completed

The NSWPF has developed and commenced using a pro-forma debriefing sheet for high risk situations to address the issues raised in the recommendation.

12

Acquisition of audio surveillance technology

I recommend that if it has not already done so, the NSWPF acquire the audio surveillance technology that in similar circumstances would allow a device to be monitored in the Police Forward Command Post and/or the Police Operations Centre, and that the organisation ensures that its capacity in this regard keeps pace with technological advances in the area.

Completed

The NSWPF has implemented technical enhancements to address the issues identified in the recommendation. The NSWPF is committed to ensuring that it has the necessary technical capacity to help keep the community safe.

13

Audio and video surveillance

I recommend that the NSWPF review its personnel arrangements and structures for the monitoring of surveillance devices, including the number of officers allocated to a listening or viewing post for monitoring purposes, and the demarcation of roles, including primary monitor, scribe/log keeper, and disseminator. I also recommend that clear communication channels be established for reporting data captured during such surveillance, including via integrated electronic intelligence-sharing platforms or applications.

Completed

Personnel arrangements have been reviewed for relevant commands and policies updated to address the issues raised in the recommendation.

Communication channels have been enhanced to address the issues raised in the recommendation. The appropriate communications channels will be further enhanced with the introduction of a technical solution in line with recommendations 6 and 10.

14

Concessions to terrorists

I recommend that the Secretariat of the Australia New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC) prepare guidelines regarding the interpretation and scope of the restrictions contained in Clause 92 of the National Counter Terrorism Plan 2012. The Secretariat should also update relevant ANZCTC documents, and the NSWPF should update State Protection Group documents, to refer to the latest versions of the National Counter-Terrorism Plan.

Supported

The revised National Counter Terrorism Plan 2017 has been endorsed by the ANZCTC and has been publicly released. Guidelines regarding the interpretation and scope of the relevant clause within the National Counter Terrorism Plan are currently being updated by the ANZCTC, with NSW support. The NSW Police Force will update relevant documents as appropriate upon finalisation of the updated ANZCTC guidelines.

15

Negotiator Training

To respond to deficiencies identified in current practice, I recommend that the NSWPF conduct a general review of the training afforded to negotiators and the means by which they are assessed and accredited. Specifically, the review should consider the training provided regarding:

  • Measuring progress in negotiations;
  • Recording of information, including the systems by which that occurs;
  • The use of third-party interveners;
  • Additional approaches to securing direct contact with a person of interest; and
  • Handovers.

The NSWPF should consider drawing on international experience when reviewing its negotiator training.

Completed

The NSWPF completed a review that considered the issues raised in the recommendation. All negotiators have conducted training with the revised training materials. 

16

Role description for psychological advisers

I recommend that the NSWPF develop a comprehensive policy that describes the role and function of a psychological adviser engaged to assist in responses to high-risk situations and that all those involved be made familiar with that policy.

Completed

The NSWPF has developed policy guidance for the Negotiation Unit regarding the role of advisers in high-risk situations. All relevant personnel will be made familiar with that guidance.  

17

Expanded Panel of experts

I recommend that the NSWPF consider expanding the panel of psychological advisers it retains and the range of disciplines in consults.

Completed

The Ministry of Health is working with the NSWPF to expand the panel of psychological advisers. The NSWPF has updated SOPs to include reference to the availability of specialist advice from a range of disciplines.

18

Negotiation team handovers

I recommend that the NSWPF review its procedures to ensure that handovers between negotiation teams are staggered so that a fully briefed officer is always available to receive a call from the stronghold.

Completed

The NSWPF has conducted a review of the issues identified in the recommendation. Training and resources for negotiators have been updated to implement the outcomes of the review and address the issues identified in the recommendation.

19

Review of Negotiation Unit staff numbers and profile

I recommend that the NSWPF review the number, rank and function of the officers comprising the Negotiation Unit.  

Completed

The staff numbers and profile of the Negotiation Unit have been reviewed. Four additional positions were recently added to the Unit.

20

Rank of negotiators

I recommend that the NSWPF review its policy of requiring negotiators to relinquish that role when they are promoted to commissioned officer rank.

Completed

The NSWPF has conducted a review and amended its policy to allow, in certain circumstances, commissioned officers to be retained as negotiators.

21

Specialist training for terrorist negotiators

I recommend that the NSWPF develop a cadre of counterterrorist negotiators and provide them with appropriate training to respond to a terrorist siege.

Completed

The cadre of counterterrorist negotiators has been enhanced with all officers provided with appropriate and ongoing training to respond to a terrorist siege. The enhancement of this cadre forms part of a broader NSWPF initiative to improve counterterrorist training across a range of disciplines.

22

Recording of negotiation positions

I recommend that the NSWPF develop policies that require the recording of negotiation strategies and tactics, demands made by a hostage taker, and any progress towards resolution (or lack thereof) in a form readily accessible by commanders and negotiators.

Completed

Policies addressing the issues raised in the recommendation have been developed and all negotiators have conducted training with the new materials. 

23

Review of media publication of terrorist incidents

I recommend that the Commissioner of Police consider seeking an agreement with news media outlets whereby the NSWPF will establish a way for such outlets to rapidly and confidentially determine whether publishing specific material could compromise the response to an ongoing high-risk situation and the media in turn will agree not to publish such material without first alerting a nominated senior police officer of their intention to do so.

Completed

The NSWPF continues to work cooperatively with media outlets to ensure appropriate protocols are in place such that media coverage does not compromise ongoing police operations. 

24

Use of force in terrorist incidents

I recommend that the Minister for Police consider whether the provisions of the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002 should be amended to ensure that police officers have sufficient legal protection to respond to terrorist incidents in a manner most likely to minimise the risk to members of the public.

Completed

The Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Police Powers and Parole) Act 2017 commenced on 22 June 2017. This legislation brings clarity to police officers responding to terrorist acts to ensure that police officers are left in no doubt regarding their power to respond and the legal implications of their actions.

25

A sniper coordinator in the Police Force Command Post

I recommend that the NSWPF review its policies to ensure that the usual arrangements for placing a sniper coordinator in the Police Force Command post are departed from only for sound operational reasons that are recorded.

Completed

The NSWPF has reviewed relevant policies to address the issues identified in the recommendation. The NSWPF has determined that the introduction of a technical solution in line with recommendations 6 and 10 will appropriately manage the recording of decisions regarding movements of the sniper coordinator.  

26

Recording Emergency Action triggers

I recommend that NSWPF policies be amended to require the recording of the triggers for Emergency Actions. Consideration should be given to stipulating that “contingency triggers” – specific events that will require initiation of an Emergency Action or some other agreed response – should also be recorded.

Completed

Policies have been amended to provide advice on the requirement to record triggers for emergency actions to address the issues identified in the recommendation. 

27

Assessing imminent and immediate risk

I recommend that the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA) and the ANZCTC review the Australia-New Zealand Guidelines for Deployment of Police to High-Risk Situations and the Police Tactical Group Operations Manual to ensure that those documents give commanders guidance on how to assess imminent or immediate risk.

Supported

The NSWPF has supported the review of the national policy documentation identified in the recommendation through the ANZPAA and the ANZCTC.

28

Reform of guidelines to Deliberate Action planning

I recommend that the ANZPAA and the ANZCTC review the Australia- New Zealand Guidelines for Deployment of Police to High-Risk Situations and the Police Tactical Group Operations Manual to ensure that they adequately describe all aspects of the Deliberate Action planning and approval process and present commanders with appropriate guidance on relevant considerations.

Supported

The NSWPF has supported the review of the national policy documentation identified in the recommendation through the ANZPAA and the ANZCTC.

29

Review of training for Deliberate Action planning and approval

I recommend that the NSWPF review the training provided to its officers in relation to Deliberate Action planning and approval.

Completed

The review has been completed and ongoing training has been identified to ensure relevant officers are trained concerning deliberate action planning and approval.  

30

Reconsideration of response to terrorist incidents

I recommend that the ANZPAA liaise with the ANZCTC to determine whether more proactive policies should be developed for responding to terrorist sieges.

Supported

ANZPAA Guidelines have been amended to reflect a more proactive approach to the resolution of terrorist and active armed offender situations.

31

Use of distraction devices

I recommend that the NSWPF develop a policy regarding the use of distraction devices and the training of officers in their use.

Completed

A review has been completed of all relevant training management packages and manuals relating to the use of sound and flash devices. Associated training has been implemented.

32

Use of hearing protection devices

I recommend that the NSWPF evaluate whether the use of noise-attenuation devices should be mandated when explosive distraction devices are used.

Completed

The evaluation has been completed and policies have been updated to provide advice on the use of hearing protection devices. 

33

Review of alternative ammunition

I recommend that the NSWPF undertake a formal assessment of alternatives to the Tactical Operations Unit’s current soft-point ammunition to determine whether a more appropriate form of ammunition is reasonably available.

Ongoing

The NSWPF continues to work in conjunction with the ANZPAA which is facilitating independent testing and evaluation of ammunition.

34

Family Liaison

I recommend that the NSWPF develop a comprehensive policy and set of procedures in relation to family liaison capability for high risk situations. Those policies and procedures should ensure that:

  • The capability is scalable depending on the nature of the incident.
  • An appropriately senior officer is responsible for overseeing the liaison process. He or she should have direct access to officers in the Police Forward Command Post for the purpose of conveying and receiving information in a timely manner.

Completed

Family Liaison procedures have been developed and approved to address the issues raised in the recommendation. 

35

Casualty identification and delivery of death notices

I recommend that the NSWPF review its policies, procedures and training to ensure the rapid identification of persons killed or injured in high-risk situations. Those policies should provide appropriate guidance on how and when death messages ought to be conveyed following such incidents.

Completed

The NSWPF has reviewed its policies, procedures and training to address the issues identified in the recommendation. Family Liaison procedures have been developed and approved to address the other issues raised in the recommendation.

36

ADF call-out arrangements

I recommend that the ADF Review confer with state and territory governments about the criteria governing applications for the ADF to be called out pursuant to the Defence Act 1903 (Cth) with a view to determining:

  • whether further guidance is required on the criteria to be used by states and territories in determining whether to apply for Commonwealth assistance; and
  • if so, what criteria ought to be stipulated.

Supported

NSW agencies supported the Commonwealth Government during the conduct of the ADF Review and are now working cooperatively to implement the outcomes of the Review.

37

Consistency between Defence Act and ANZCTC protocols

I recommend that the ADF Review give consideration to amending the ANZCTC protocols to ensure that they provide sufficient guidance as to the respective roles of the ADF and state police tactical groups. Such guidance should accord with the legislative framework in Part IIIAAA of the Defence Act 1903 (Cth).

Supported

NSW agencies supported the Commonwealth Government during the conduct of the ADF Review and are now working cooperatively to implement the outcomes of the Review.

38

Procedures for obtaining ADF assistance

I recommend that the ADF Review, in consultation with the police forces of the states and territories, examine the guidance available to ADF officers and state and territory police regarding:

  • the role of ADF liaison officers;
  • the availability of ADF assistance in the absence of a call-out; and
  • the procedures to apply in relation to requests for, and the provision of, equipment or advice by the ADF.

Supported

NSW agencies supported the Commonwealth Government during the conduct of the ADF Review and are now working cooperatively to implement the outcomes of the Review.

39

Review of information sharing arrangements

I recommend that the Commonwealth Attorney-General, in consultation with the states and territories, review existing arrangements for information sharing between federal, state and territory agencies during terrorist events to determine whether those arrangements (and the guidance provided to officers in respect of them) adequately facilitate the efficient identification and transfer of pertinent information between agencies.

Supported

NSW agencies are supporting the implementation of this recommendation through the ANZCTC. 

40

Correspondence referral

I recommend that the Commonwealth Attorney-General liaise with ASIO to develop a policy to ensure that where correspondence is received by a government agency, minister or public office holder, from a non-government entity, and that correspondence is relevant to the security assessments of the author, the correspondence be referred to:

  • ASIO; and
  • a Fixated Threat Assessment Centre.

Supported

The NSW Premier wrote to the Prime Minister indicating the NSW Government’s support for this recommendation. 

41

Review of disclosure rules

I recommend that:

  • The Commonwealth Attorney-General and ASIO confer with the Australian Psychological Society regarding the restrictions in clause A 5 2 of the Code of Ethics (2007) with respect to radicalisation, terrorism and politically motivated violence; and
  • The Australian Psychological Society consider amending clause A 5 2 of the Code of Ethics (2007) to enable psychologists to report risks of a terrorist nature.

Supported

The NSW Premier wrote to the Prime Minister indicating the NSW Government’s support for this recommendation.

42

Privacy legislation review

I recommend that the Premier of NSW consider whether the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 should be amended to ensure that there is appropriate access to health related information available to ASIO (consistent with recommendation 12 of the report of the Martin Place Siege Joint Commonwealth-NSW review).

Completed

The NSW Government has considered whether the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 should be amended. The NSW Government and Commonwealth agencies considered that amendments to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 were necessary to ensure ASIO had appropriate access to information.

Accordingly, the Terrorism (High Risk Offenders) Bill 2017 passed the Parliament on 22 November 2017 and contained amendments to the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 to give effect to this recommendation.

43

A Fixated Threat Assessment Centre

I recommend that the NSWPF, in conjunction with NSW Health, establish a Fixated Threat Assessment Centre to identify and gather information about fixated persons, assess the risks they pose, and attempt to mitigate such risks through early intervention.

Completed

A Fixated Persons Threat Assessment Centre of the kind identified in the recommendation has been established.

44

Liaison with ASIO

I recommend that ASIO liaise with the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre with a view to both agencies cooperating in their identification, assessment and management of fixated, radicalised individuals.

Supported

NSW agencies are working cooperatively with the Commonwealth Government to implement a national approach to the identification, assessment and management of fixated, radicalised individuals, drawing on NSW’s experience. 

45

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission and critical incident debriefs

I recommend that the Minister for Police undertake a review of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Act 2016  with a view to enabling the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission to facilitate urgent debriefs and confidential internal reviews of critical incidents on improving current practice.

Completed

The review has been completed. Legislation will be introduced to allow independent debrief teams to be established within the NSWPF to review, and make recommendations to improve, operational practices in the immediate aftermath of critical incidents. Processes will be established to notify the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission when independent debrief teams are established.

Published 8th June, 2017 in Cabinet
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