by Charles Miranda
COUNTER terrorism police operations are being targeted by the very suspects they are pursuing.
Suspects are going out of their way to learn law enforcement methodologies — including response times, movements and investigations.
The development comes amid revelations police forces are under siege from international crime gangs and rogues states hacking their computer systems for information to sell to the highest bidder and to refine their own criminal enterprises.
In a worrying indication of the terror threat domestically, News Corp Australia has learnt persons of interest to police for direct terror affiliations and suspicions are actively running counter surveillance measures to learn police tactics.
State and federal police, and Australian spy group ASIO have reported to government evidence the known suspects in this country, believed to be predominantly from Sydney and Melbourne where 80 per cent of terror suspects, plots and arrests nationally have hailed from, were going out of their way to learn police operational procedures specifically linked to counter terrorism.
One law enforcement source described it almost like a game where groups, some of whom are suspected of sympathies, and or affiliations with known ISIS suspects, are actively tracking who is watching them and employing their own counter surveillance tactics.
It is as rudimentary as watching who is putting their colleagues and certain businesses under surveillance and putting those agents under surveillance through to monitoring legal cases for clues as to which of their own tactics, including encrypted apps they use for communications are being monitored or talked about and changing their own methods accordingly.
It is understood joint AFP and state-based police operations currently have 75 active terror operations tracking more than 180 suspects nationally.
But the network is a lot broader with associates and families of these targets also actively tracking the watchers.
It is known police have upgraded their tactics and defences to reflect the threat including increased monitoring of their own stations.
NSW Police Association boss Scott Weber said he was aware of the trend and police had changed methods to respond to this growing threat.
“The world has changed not for the better, the nature of policing is more difficult now where threats are broad and internally and police have to be extra vigilant not just during work time but off duty as well and now we are seeing police officers becoming targets and individually singled out as a focus of terrorism,” he said.
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