A former Sydney police officer has told the ABC he warned his bosses not to “jump to conclusions” about a potential terror attack at the Gold Coast airport.
Key points: The ABC has obtained internal security documents from the Gold Crowns Police unit, which investigates high-profile domestic terrorism incidents, including a thwarted plot in Sydney in 2015.
Two officers have been arrested in connection with the plot.
One officer, a man in his 40s, is charged with possessing a weapon during an act of terrorism and is due to appear in the NSW Supreme Court today.
The documents obtained by the ABC were obtained from a security service that is part of the NSW Police Service (NPWS).
“You never know, and you don’t have to be certain,” the former officer, who is no longer employed by the Police Force, told the program.
“There’s always an element of uncertainty, especially in an environment like this.”
The man in question was arrested in November 2015, after police stopped a vehicle driven by a man who appeared to be “acting suspiciously”.
The police were called to the Gold Country Airport, where the vehicle was believed to be waiting for an arriving flight.
The officers involved in the stop-and-search were not identified.
A search of the vehicle uncovered a black handgun.
Officers later found the driver had “a gun, a firearm and a knife” in his possession.
They then searched the man’s backpack and found “briefing material on explosives, ammunition and firearms”, the documents said.
Police then found a note which was “explicitly stating he intended to carry out a terror attack”.
“The police acted in good faith and we are very grateful for their professionalism and their actions,” the statement from the Police Service said.
“In this case, the officer was advised that his actions could result in serious harm to the public and the police would not hesitate to use force if necessary.”
After the operation, the ABC revealed the officer had been suspended for 30 days, after the officer told colleagues that he was concerned he had “made the wrong decision”.
It is not clear whether the officer has pleaded guilty to the charges.
An investigation was launched, with the results expected in the coming weeks.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the incident had highlighted “the dangers of a large number of police officers jumping to conclusions in the face of new and emerging threats”.
ABC reporter Daniel Hynes contributed to this report.
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