Brisbane’s Queen St Mall not fortified from vehicle attack

 In Media

AN anti-terrorism expert has questioned why the Brisbane City Council has not yet fortified the Queen St Mall from a vehicle attack.

The BCC has placed concrete crash barriers along the Adelaide and Ann St perimeters of King George Square, and at key entry points at South Bank, to prevent unauthorised vehicle access.

The barriers protecting King George Square were installed last festive season.

However, when The Courier-Mail visited the Queen St Mall on Monday, the first day of the midyear school holidays, there were no barriers preventing vehicle access to the heart of the shopping strip off Adelaide St.

The entry off Adelaide St allows vehicles to access Burnett Lane, off Albert Street, which is also the drop-off point for the Next Hotel.

Griffith University’s director of international programs for policing, security and terrorism Professor Geoff Dean said the Queen St Mall should be high on the BCC’s list of priorities.

“It’s obviously a route that needs to be blocked off,” Prof. Dean said.

“Maybe it’s been overlooked. There are lots of areas where you would need to do a security audit to look at what is a high profile target.

“You need to provide some level of protection and if the council has overlooked it, the council has to amend that.”

A family of wayward tourists drove part way through the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane in January, only metres from shoppers and young children in prams and strollers. Police quickly intercepted the vehicle and forced the drive to reverse out of the mall. Picture: Marc Robertson

The BCC refused to comment on why concrete barriers have not been installed to prevent a vehicular terrorist attack in the Queen St Mall.

“Brisbane City Council does not discuss security arrangements,” the spokeswoman said.

Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan also refused to comment.

Mr Ryan’s office said security measures for the Queen St Mall was an issue for the BCC and Queensland Police, who provide security assessments of public areas.

Prof Dean said the Queen St Mall was an obvious and prime target because of the number of people who visited there daily.

Not only should the BCC protect the Queen St Mall, but other public areas like Fortitude Valley, where thousands of young night clubbers descend on weekends, should come under consideration too, he said.

“They (the BCC) may not want to discuss security issues, I can understand that, but they should have a security plan that should indicate which areas are high priorities to obviously target harden,” he said.

“It would seem logical that Queens St is on that list and there should be other areas they should consider like the Valley Mall and any of those major pedestrian areas.”

He said the more the BCC protects high priority areas, then the likelihood is terrorists will search for soft targets in much the same way criminals now rob corner stores and not banks.

“If Queen St or King Square is blocked off, they’ll (terrorists) go down to the Valley … it becomes a rolling stone from a security point of view.

“In terms of target hardening, banks don’t get robbed anymore but the local corner store does because it doesn’t have the same security the security windows.”

Prof. Dean is currently helping design safety management plans for Southport Coolangatta and Broadbeach for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

A spokesman for Queensland police said they regularly consult with Council to provide advice on security measures as necessary.

“For operational reasons, the QPS does not comment on the specific security advice it provides publicly,” the spokesman said.

“While the National Terrorism Threat Level is at probable, there is no known specific threat to Brisbane.”


Source: Courier Mail

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