Peter Dutton has announced police will be able to stop anyone in an airline terminal who catches their attention.
Peter Dutton has announced police will be able to stop anyone in an airline terminal who catches their attention.

New reasons you could be checked at airport

THERE are a few things you don't want to do to avoid police stopping you at airports and asking for identification.

The advice comes from a senior Australian Federal Police officer, and it ranges from the specific to the really broad.

For example, don't hang around baggage carousels with nothing to do. But, more generally, don't look as if you shouldn't be in an airline terminal.

Previously police had only been able to stop someone in an airport crowd if they suspected a Commonwealth law was about to be broken.

But Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has announced that in effect police will be able to stop anyone in an airline terminal who catches their attention. They will be able to demand identification, even though there is no requirement for Australians to carry ID.

And how people stand out will be a matter of police training in behaviour traits.

AFP deputy commissioner Leanna Close told a Senate estimates inquiry people in terminals will be watched and possibly approached "if they are looking like they shouldn't be there".

"They may be hanging around a baggage carousel for extended periods of time without looking like they actually are going to meet anybody," Mr Close said.

"And that can be potentially for a range of reasons that we would want to approach those people for, for both a security or potentially a criminal threat perspective.

"There's a raft of behaviours that we train our officers in to be on the lookout for, and we also expect them to approach that person and have a conversation with them as well.

"If that doesn't satisfy them currently they will be monitoring that person's behaviour where they can."

The new stop-and-check powers won't be based on racial, religious or ethnic characteristics, the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin today told a Senate inquiry.

"We do not make decisions around action based on religion, culture or ethnicity. We make decisions based on behaviour," said Commissioner Colvin.

"We have very deep relationships with the multicultural community as well and we assure them all the time … there is no track record of us doing this. And I hope that will never change."

Commissioner Colvin said AFP presence at airports was precautionary and to enable a quick response to problems.

"Obviously policing concentrates on prevention of crime when we can, sometimes our presence alone is a disrupter of crime but I can't say it is purely precautionary."



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