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

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.

Accepted

The ODPP has reviewed the training in file management given to its lawyers 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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports 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.

Accepted

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted

Detailed guidance is being developed. Once finalised, it will be included in relevant policy documents and 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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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.

Accepted

Work is underway and may require inter-jurisdictional cooperation.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway. 

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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted

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 capabilities 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.

Accepted

This review is underway. 

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 Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation. 

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway. Once finalised, all those involved in responses to high-risk situations will be made familiar with the policy.

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.

Accepted

Consideration is underway.

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.

Accepted

The NSWPF has conducted a review. Training for negotiators has been updated to implement the outcomes of the review and address the issue 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.  

Accepted

This review is underway. 

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted

Consideration is underway.

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.

Accepted

The Government will introduce legislation 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.

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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.

Accepted

Consideration is underway.

 

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 Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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 Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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.

Accepted

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted 

This evaluation is underway.

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.

Accepted

This assessment is underway.

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.

Accepted 

Development is underway.

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation. 

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 Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports 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 Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports 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).

Accepted

Consideration is underway.

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.

Accepted

A Fixated Persons Threat Assessment Centre 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

The Premier has advised the Prime Minister that NSW supports this recommendation.

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.

Accepted

This review is underway.

Published 8th June, 2017 in Cabinet