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Bourke Street attack: Does Australia need a rapid response unit?

Deborah Knight

There are calls for Australia to adopt a rapid response unit, similar to those used in Europe and Britain, in the wake of the Bourke Street attack.

Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali killed one man and injured two others after he launched the stabbing attack in Melbourne on Friday.

Shire Ali was shot by police on the scene and later died from his injuries.

It’s since come to light the attack was terror motivated and Shire Ali was on the radar of intelligence authorities.

His passport was even cancelled in 2015, over fears he would travel overseas and fight for Islamic State.

Since the horrific attack, calls have increased for Australia to adopt a rapid response unit, like those in the UK and Europe.

Intelligent Risks CEO Neil Fergus tells Deborah Knight the units have been “very successful” overseas.

“If you recall the events that happened on Westminster Bridge and at Borough Market a couple of years ago, the police… were there in a matter of minutes.

“It would have been an awful lot worse if the metropolitan police hadn’t had its rapid response unit deployed as quickly as it was.”

Mr Fergus says police responded to Friday’s attack “far better” than they did when a car rammed into pedestrians along the same strip nearly two years ago.

“The fact we have young Victorian police officers patrolling the CBD is a massive improvement on what it was a few years ago.”

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Deborah Knight