NSW police adopt 'shoot now' approach for terrorist attacks

A file photo for the Lindt cafe siege in December 2014. Source: AAP

NSW police has implemented a "shoot now" approach for terrorist attacks, moving away from its old "contain and negotiate" protocol.

NSW police will have the power to shoot armed offenders in terrorist situations on sight under a new policy, but civil libertarians say independent review and high level training are imperative.

The force is replacing its contain and negotiate policy, and critics are concerned about the lack of detail surrounding the policy, which hasn't been released for operational reasons.

The NSW Council for Civil Liberties says extensive training will be necessary if frontline police are to be given the discretion.

"There are very high risks involved in a shoot at first sight approach and obviously a one size reaction won't fit all situations," vice-president Lesley Lynch told AAP.

"It would be important that any incident which led to the death or serious injury of a person was subject of an independent review."

The change comes after the deadly Paris attacks but senior officers say the new policy and a training program for every officer in NSW has been in the works for several years.

Contain and negotiate will still be widely used, except in situations where there is an armed offender and lives are in immediate danger or already lost.

"We saw this was coming. It had been an experience of overseas jurisdictions for some time and we weren't going to sit on our heels and wait for it to come to us before we did something about it," NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch told reporters.

Operational decisions, including when the shoot now policy takes effect, will be made by police on the ground, Acting Commissioner Nick Kaldas said.

"If police see evidence of people being killed they have to act.

We're simply trying to equip them so they can react in a better way," he said.

The new active armed offender training program is based on an American program by Texas State University, which has already been adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It's expected to take several years to roll out the program.

Source AAP

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