This is good. Great, even. It’s a wonderful thing. Very sensible and sane. From today, a select group of NSW Police officers patrolling the Sydney CBD will be equipped with semi-automatic assault rifles, in a move which the Police Commissioner asserts is for the public’s “safety.”

We repeat: Great.

47 officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad have been issued Colt M4 rifles as part of an initial rollout by the police force. The officers completed what NSW Police is calling “rigorous training” in order to carry the weapon, which is being rolled out just in time for summer large-scale public events like New Year’s Eve.

By June next year, every member of the state’s Riot Squad will be accredited and will carry the rifles. Officers will be required to undergo re-accreditation twice a year in order to carry the high-powered weapons.

NSW Police Minister Troy Grant welcomed the arrival of the insanely powerful, military-grade weaponry on Sydney’s streets, stating that the paramilitary-style police operations were a sad inevitability of the modern world, and were necessary for on-going anti-terror efforts.

The unfortunate reality of terror attacks around the world means there is a growing acceptance within the community that we need heavily-armed police to be able to be deployed when and where they are needed.

I have stated on many occasions, this Government will leave no stone unturned when it comes to keeping the community safe. These new firearms are certainly going to change the image of our Public Order and Riot Squad, but it is all in the name of giving our police the necessary resources to respond to an ever-changing crime environment.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Mick Fuller stated the weapons provide police with greater tactical support, and should actually make the public feel much safer if they see them.

This is an additional capability that will provide greater support for officers responding to high-risk incidents and ensure increased community safety. The community can expect to see officers carrying these weapons in public on occasion, whilst other times, the weapons will be close at hand. In the current environment, we recognise the need to be both proactive and responsive and to dispatch tactical police from multiple locations to where they are needed. I don’t want the public to feel confronted, but I want them not only be safe, but to also feel safe.

Today’s rollout comes 24 hours after a similar announcement in Melbourne, with rifle-wielding tactical cops now roaming the streets of Australia’s two largest cities.

It’s good, actually. Definitely safe and definitely good.

Source: NSW Police
Image: Twitter / Peter Fegan