New Zealand disarms police as terror threat level lowered

The man accused of shooting dead 50 Muslim worshippers in a Christchurch mosque sat impassively April 5 as a New Zealand judge ordered him to undergo tests to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial for murder. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 April 2019
0

New Zealand disarms police as terror threat level lowered

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “there is no current specific threat”
  • Frontline New Zealand police have historically not carried firearms and many people were shocked to see them heavily armed after the Christchurch mosque attacks

WELLINGTON: New Zealand police on Wednesday ended the routine arming of frontline officers as the terrorism threat level was lowered a month after the Christchurch mosques massacre.
Police and security agencies reduced the threat level from high to medium, meaning authorities judge that another attack, violent criminal behavior, or violent protest remains “feasible” rather than “very likely.”
The level is still higher than it was before the March 15 attacks, when the threat was deemed to be “low.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “there is no current specific threat,” but the security agencies believed the medium level “accurately reflects our current status.”
Frontline New Zealand police have historically not carried firearms and many people were shocked to see them heavily armed after 50 Muslims were gunned down while at Friday prayers.
Police commissioner Mike Bush said with the easing of the security threat level, the police had reassessed their position on arming frontline staff and the carrying of weapons would now be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The decision was made after “significant consultation” with mosques and Islamic Centers in relation to ongoing security, although Bush said he would not release details.
“There was never any intention for the routine carriage of firearms to continue indefinitely,” Bush said.
“Generally this means frontline staff will transition back to our normal approach regarding carriage and access to firearms.
The police also released a timeline of the mosque attacks, showing it took 18 minutes from the time of the first emergency call to the apprehension of the alleged shooter.
A 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, a self-avowed white supremacist, faces 50 murder charges and 39 of attempted murder over the attack.


Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

Updated 16 July 2019
0

Portugal suspends visas for Iranians for 'security reasons'

  • Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory

LISBON: Portugal has suspended the issuance of entry visas for Iranian nationals for unspecified security reasons, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Answering a question from a committee member on whether such a move had been taken, Santos Silva said during the televised meeting: “Yes, we suspended those for security reasons ... I will provide explanations later, but not publicly.”
“Portugal does not play around with entry into its territory,” he added, without disclosing when the decision was taken.
The chairman declared the meeting closed after about two hours without further off-camera testimony.
Joao Goncalves Pereira, the lawmaker from the conservative CDS-PP party who asked the question, told Reuters: “We received information that visas for Iranians had been suspended for two or three weeks, and we just wanted to confirm that.”
He would not say what was the source of that original information or whether any Iranian nationals had complained about the situation.
Foreign ministry officials had no immediate comment and nobody was available for comment in the Iranian embassy in Lisbon.