The AFP continues to be concerned by the increasing risk of home-grown terrorists and the 'lone actor' threat. This threat has intensified with a growth in self-radicalisation which is facilitated by new communication tools. Terrorist attacks in London and Boston, highlighted not only the threat and risk that lone actors pose but also the difficulty in identifying vulnerable and at-risk lone actors prior to their committing an act. The AFP continues to engage with its counterparts to address this challenge.
Joint Counter Terrorism Teams
The AFP continues to maintain Joint Counter Terrorism Teams in each jurisdiction comprising AFP, state and territory police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation officers and members from other relevant agencies. The teams conduct investigations to prevent, respond to and investigate terrorist threats and attacks in Australia.
In conjunction with its Commonwealth, state and territory counterparts, the Counter Terrorism function continues to devote significant resources to the investigation of persons and groups across Australia with a focus on allegations of terrorist activity and terrorist financing.
The AFP's Community Liaison Teams in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane conduct a number of community engagement activities, including the annual Eid ul-Fitr dinners, aimed at strengthening ties with various ethnic and religious communities.
AFP Counter Terrorism International Investigations, in collaboration with the Australian intelligence community and international partners, investigates Australian citizens who are alleged or known to be involved in terrorist activity offshore. A key focus of counter terrorism investigations in the current operating environment is mitigating the threat posed by the increasing number of Australians who travel overseas to participate in training with terrorist groups or fight in conflict zones. Of concern are those individuals who may return to Australia with extremist views, enhanced skills and combat experience and who may encourage planning attacks against Australians and Australian interests.
Counter Terrorism liaison officers
Counter Terrorism liaison officers work with host country law enforcement counterparts to promote information exchange on counter terrorism matters of mutual interest and emerging terrorism trends and issues.
Counter Terrorism Regional Cooperation Teams
The Counter Terrorism Regional Cooperation Teams in Jakarta and Manila and the Training and Development Centre in Bangkok provide investigative, forensic and analytical support to regional partners in counter terrorism investigations.
The AFP's Counter Terrorism function, through its international liaison officers and Regional Cooperation Teams, collaborates with international partners and other Australian Government agencies domestically and offshore to ensure a whole-of-government approach to fighting terrorism at its source.
Australia-New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee (ANZCTC)
The AFP works with representatives of the Australian and New Zealand Governments and the states and territories on the ANZCTC, which was established as the National Counter Terrorism Committee by the Inter-Governmental Agreement signed by the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers on 24 October 2002. Stronger relationships with New Zealand were recognised when its membership status was changed to full member in 2012 resulting in the renaming of the Committee to the ANZCTC.
The role of the ANZCTC is to contribute to the security of the Australian community through coordination of a nationwide cooperative framework to counter terrorism and its consequences. The committee meets twice a year and is comprised of representatives from the Australian, New Zealand, state and territory governments.