Regional police are now being trained in counter-terrorism, with a new program to be rolled out across the state this year.
While the terrorism threat has long been thought of as being in bigger cities such as Melbourne - where there are more people, transport networks and places of mass gathering - recent international incidents have highlighted that this is not always the case.
Speaking with The Police Association of Victoria's journal, the Deputy Commissioner for Public Safety and Security, Ross Guenther, said incidents in Europe had highlighted the need for authorities to be prepared for the possibility of a terrorist attack outside of metropolitan areas.
"Where, say five or six years ago the majority of the attacks might have been in central Paris, then you've seen other cases in that country, for example the truck attack in Nice, so it can definitely happen in areas away from the city and we just need to be prepared for that," he told the journal.
Deputy Commissioner Guenther said while the threat was not as likely as in a metropolitan area, "it could occur, absolutely" and police wanted to be proactive about preventing an attack before it occurs.
"While most of the attacks we've had have been city or CBD located, it doesn't mean we wouldn't get an event in a rural area," he said.
To broaden counter-terrorism capabilities and build knowledge across the state, Victoria Police developed a similar strategic model to Queensland.
So rather than counter-terrorism being solely a specialist policing area, frontline officers in regional areas are also being educated so they are prepared if a threat occurs or an incident unfolds in their area.
Victoria Police ran the Counter-Terrorism Liaison Officer Network (CT-LON) pilot program late last year.
According to a spokesperson for the force, it was designed to provide additional counter-terrorism training and support to frontline police across the state.
The training helps police nominated as counter-terrorism liaison officers to better understand national security, potential risk at crowded places and how the risk can be reduced.
"The program provides training and guidance for police in a range of areas including engagement with local owners and operators of crowded places and places of worship," the spokesperson said.
This will mean they are able to provide protective security guidance, advice and support.
With examples of people of interest undertaking terrorist training in remote areas of Australia in recent years, the network will help to filter intelligence back to investigators.
The liaison officers will also help to facilitate information and intelligence sharing between police and the community "to boost crime prevention and build community resilience, trust and confidence".
About 20 police officers from the Western Region Division - Division 1 (Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast), Division 5 (Greater Bendigo, Macedon, Campaspe and Central Goldfields) and Division 6 (Mildura and Swan Hill) - took part in the pilot program, run by the Counter-Terrorism Command, late last year.
It is planned that further police in each region will be trained this year as the program is expanded to other areas of the state.
It comes after Ballarat police began training to use semi-automatic rifles to ensure there would be a swift response if a terrorist attack or active armed offender incident was to occur in the region last year.
Victoria Police was unable to confirm how many officers would be trained in the Ballarat region, or when it would take place.
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