AFP Creates New Taskforce to ‘Protect Politicians Ahead of Election’

Originally posted on TOTT News

A dedicated federal police task force will protect politicians during the election campaign, it has been announced.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) task force will use “real time intelligence” to investigate reports of security threats made against parliamentarians and candidates along with other electoral crimes.  

Known as ‘Operation Wilmot’, the taskforce will focus on investigations and will receive reports of electoral-related crime, including security threats to parliamentarians and candidates.

In a statement announcing the move, the AFP said it “supports political expression and freedom of speech, but harassment, intimidation and threats would not be tolerated”

“The task force sends a strong message to the community that the AFP is dedicated to protecting democracy, protecting high-office holders and will not hesitate to identify and arrest those who break the law,” the statement said. 

“Hiding behind a keyboard to issue threats against politicians does not ensure anonymity.”
“The AFP has world-leading technology to identify individuals who break the law by harassing, menacing or threatening to kill politicians.”

It’s the first time the AFP has established a specialised task force to protect politicians ahead of an election and comes after AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw warned he expected threats to increase.

Two people were charged earlier in March over alleged threats they made online against Shadow Home Affairs Minister, Kristina Keneally. 

A 29-year-old man from Sydney’s west and a 41-year-old woman from Maitland in the NSW Hunter region will face court next month after allegedly making threats using a social media messaging app.

“It will be alleged in court that the man and woman were responsible for sending two separate threatening messages on 23 November 2021, which threatened or advocated violent acts,” the AFP said at the time. 

According to the authorities, three people have been prosecuted for the crime of “threatening to cause harm to a Commonwealth office” during the past 18 months. 

One person has been prosecuted for using a postal service to make a threat to kill, and five individuals have faced charges for using a carriage service to menace or harass.

Senator Keneally thanked the AFP for ‘taking the safety and security of parliamentarians seriously’.

“In our political debates and discourse, unfortunately we are seeing an increasing trend towards extremist views and threats of violence,” she said. 

The taskforce will use an ‘incident coordination centre’ to monitor hundreds of investigators, intelligence officers and protective security specialists, including close personal protection members.

Where is this coordination centre? Situated in Canberra’s newly-opened intelligence facility.

RAMPING UP OPERATIONS

The task force, which will be headed by an AFP Commander, will be a sub-component of a newly-opened major incident coordination centre in Canberra.

It will begin operating once the election is formally called, which could be as early as the end of this week.

Leading national security agency, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), opened the new cyber and foreign intelligence facility in Majura Park, Canberra, to “foster security partnerships across the intelligence community, law enforcement, Australian industry and international partners”.

The new centre is expected to house agents and personnel from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the AFP, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the Department of Home Affairs and more.

It seems they are wasting no time in getting operations up-and-running.

This isn’t the first power increase for the AFP in recent months, either.

In October, then AFP said it was is in talks with the Five Eyes Alliance about how it can implement a new cyber offensive operation following the passing of ‘identify and disrupt’ laws.

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Responses

  1. That does not come as a surprise!
    Just more confirmation of the totalitarian system we are forced to live in by our elected governments operating by the narrative of the WEF psychotic criminals! It will get worse, much worse but of course that is just another conspiracy theory, right? I wish it was just a nightmare but of course it is as real as it gets! To be honest I am surprised that we still hold elections.
    You have to wonder how “honest” the election process will be, knowing the level of corrupt politicians and officials which have permeated all levels of our democratic systems.
    Yep! The “Volks Polizei” to protect corrupt politicians and dish out punishment to the innocent citizen as often and as severe as they please!

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