Federal Police Transforming Into Paramilitary
With the announcement that Australian Federal Police will be buying a fleet of armoured vehicles, they are well on their way to becoming a paramilitary force.
The Australian Federal Police currently has some 320 officers stationed in the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, Cyprus, Nauru, East Timor, the Sudan and Cambodia.
The AFP are primarily concerned with counter-terrorism and peace-keeping, but have become engaged in armed conflict in East Timor and the Solomon Islands.
Even though the AFP is currently preparing to buy armoured vehicles, most likely including the sort of heavily armoured vehicles used by Australian Defence Force soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, no official announcement on the cost, number or type of vehicles that will be purchased has been made.
The AFP is now doubling its international forces to some 1200 officers, at a cost of more than half a billion dollars.
Naturally, we are told the AFP's armoured vehicles would not be used domestically, but of course if prolonged conflicts in Australia or internal disruptions, for example an unstoppable flood of asylum seekers or climate change refugees, demanded it, the armoured vehicles will be deployed.
Australians are likely to see their federal police in war-zone recognisable armoured vehicles towards the end of 2008 when training is underway, and they are rolled out for the media. There will be plenty of occasions for the media to cover the AFP tooling around in their new armoured vehicles so we quickly get used to the sight of seeing our federal police in 'bomb-proof' Landrovers and mini-tanks, on our city streets.
The Australian Federal Police seemed pretty well convinced that chaos is likely to break out in the Solomon Islands and East Timor, as well as other Pacific nations, for many years to come. Hence the need for 'riot-ready' vehicles covered in light-to-heavy armour.