Melbourne testing loudspeaker warning system after vehicle attack

A damaged vehicle at the scene of an incident on Flinders Street, in Melbourne, on Dec 21, 2017.
A damaged vehicle at the scene of an incident on Flinders Street, in Melbourne, on Dec 21, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SYDNEY (BERNAMA) - A new emergency loudspeaker warning system was being tested in downtown Melbourne on Thursday (Dec 28) as part of the Australian city's measures against terrorism and other public threats, according to the police.

The speakers around the Victoria state capital's library were to be activated in the late morning, with a warning signal for the public that it was a test, state police said on its Twitter account, Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 60 speaker sets were installed in the city earlier this month, as part of measures to deal with emergencies such as terrorist attacks, hijacks and riots, reported the Nine News channel. More than 90 sites will have the speakers by the end of next year.

"This new tool is a quick way for us to alert the community of any imminent risks and ensure their safety," Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton was quoted as saying. "We can also communicate via SMS and our social media pages, which would be regularly updated during an incident."

State authorities are rolling out a security upgrade following a counter-terrorism review that includes street barriers to guard against vehicle attacks and new laws to detain terrorist suspects, amid a number of incidents this year.

On Dec 21, a 32-year-old Australian man allegedly drove his SUV into a crowded downtown Melbourne intersection, leaving 20 people hospitalised. Saeed Noori, who arrived in the country as an Afghan refugee in 2004, has been in custody and is facing 18 counts of attempted murder.

The incident follows a similar one in January, when a 27-year-old suspect drove his car into pedestrians on nearby Bourke Street at lunchtime, claiming six lives and injuring at least 30 others. The driver pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges earlier this month.

 

Last month, the authorities foiled a terror plot to gun down revellers during New Year's Eve celebrations in Melbourne's Federation Square tourist spot.