UK police start review of Sydney siege

The Lindt Café reopened late last year Source: AAP

UK police with expertise in counter-terrorism and hostage situations are in Sydney to lead an independent review of how the Lindt Cafe siege was handled.

A team of top UK police with expertise in counter-terrorism, hostage situations and firearms has arrived in Sydney to review how local officers responded to the Lindt Cafe siege.

The five senior UK officers have been asked by the NSW coroner to conduct an independent review of the police response and management of the December, 2014, siege in the heart of Sydney.

The team will examine hundreds of folders and thousands of pieces of evidence - including witness statements, forensics and CCTV - amassed for the inquest.

They will prepare a report to the coroner outlining their view of whether the police response to the siege was appropriate and adequate, with the report due before hearings resume in March.

Heading the UK contingent is 31-year policing veteran Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, the head of armed policing in the UK with special responsibility for siege management.

Mr Chesterman mentioned the UK armed policing team's appointment to the Sydney siege inquest on Twitter earlier in January and also tweeted his team's arrival in Sydney.

Also on the UK team are Temporary Chief Superintendent Kerrin Smith, who has trained police in Iraq and has responsibilities for hostage negotiation work in the UK; Chief Inspector Trevor Clark and Inspector Nigel Kefford, both counter-terrorism specialists; and tactical firearms response expert Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton.

The siege inquest, which is examining how hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson lost their lives and how gunman Man Haron Monis came to be armed and free on bail, will conduct an eight-week investigation of how the siege was managed from March 21.

Hostages and law enforcement officers involved in the incident will be among witnesses called to give evidence and the UK officers are also expected to give evidence about their review.

The inquest into the events of December 15 and 16, 2014, is one of the largest and most complex inquests ever undertaken in Australia.

Source AAP

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