Sydney may have permanent anti-terror measures in the central business district after Boxing Day crowds shopped amid trucks, cranes and bollards.
The measures, in addition to road closures on Tuesday, were put in place as thousands flocked to the city to browse post-Christmas sales.
It follows last week’s vehicle attack in Melbourne’s bustling Flinders Street which saw 20 people taken to hospital, including two men who are still fighting for life.
New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton described the tactics as an ‘escalation’ of the usual crowd protection strategies.
A trucking big effort: The city’s George Street thoroughfare – opened to foot traffic just this month – was protected by a mammoth semi-trailer during the Boxing Day shopping sales
A semi-trailer is used to block Market Street at George Street in Sydney’s CBD as a security measure during the Boxing Day sales on Tuesday
Twenty people were taken to hospital after a vehicle ploughed into pedestirans in Melbourne’s bustling Flinders Street last week; two men are still in hospital fighting for life
Huge bollards were installed in front of the Pitt Street shopping precinct, close to the city’s biggest department stores
Although the national terror threat level had remained at ‘probable’ for over two years, he said there was still a need for vigilance.
‘We would be negligent not to look at our days when we do have a lot of people loaded in these areas and put some treatments in,’ Mr Walton told 2GB on Wednesday.
‘You’ve only got to look at what’s happened internationally and even down in Melbourne to know people are vulnerable and we need to do what we can, within reason, to make them safe in these areas.’
Mr Walton also cited a national strategy for protecting crowded spaces, released by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in August, which required landholders to consider security with advice from police.
Police blocked off the roads around Sydney’s biggest shopping precincts with concrete bollards and semi-trailers as tens of thousands swarmed the shops for bargains
The horrifying attack at Flinders Street in Melbourne last Thursday did little to deter tens of thousands of shoppers from going about their business
A semi-trailer is parked in Market Street near Pitt Street Mall to deter attacks on shoppers as they enjoyed the Boxing Day sales in Sydney’s central business district on Tuesday
‘We really do need to mature in relation to the way we build structures around our footpaths and roadways,’ he said.
‘I was in London a month ago – there’s significant treatments all through London.
‘I hope we don’t get to that point but I do believe there are some permanent structures that will be required in Sydney and other locations.’
The barriers and road closures were removed after Boxing Day, however the next major challenge for authorities will be New Year’s Eve.
Mr Walton said police had spent months planning a huge security operation.
‘There are a lot of measures that are already starting to go in around the city around how we manage the crowds and protect the crowds on New Year’s Eve,’ he said.
Security measures such as this truck parked in Market Street were removed after Boxing Day but police face another major challenge in the centre of Sydney on New Year’s Eve
Shoppers took the new protective measures in their stride as they hunted down the best bargains
Authorities turned Sydney’s shopping district into a fortress on Boxing Day as tens of thousands of shoppers swarmed the city hunting for bargains.
Huge trucks and imposing concrete bollards blocked off usually busy roads near the city’s bustling Pitt Street and Queen Victoria Building precinct.
As uniformed police patrolled the streets, semi-trailers were parked across roads near George Street and Market Street.
A New South Wales police spokesperson said: ‘In light of the large number of people expected at Boxing Day sales, police have put traffic management and security measures in place.’
‘While there is no specific threat, NSW Police continue to urge the public to be vigilant and report anything that doesn’t look right.’
‘While there is no specific threat, NSW Police continue to urge the public to be vigilant and report anything that doesn’t look right’
Protective barrier: Workers were seen installing concrete bollards and moving semi-trailers into place before most shops had even opened
Police noted the terrorist threat level in Australia remained at ‘probable’ and road closures were put in place last year too.
The heightened security come just four days after a man allegedly ploughed his car into pedestrians on Melbourne’s Flinders Street.
Victoria Police described the incident as a ‘deliberate attack’ and charged Afghan migrant Saeed Noori, 32, with 18 counts of attempted murder.
The fear of terrorism did not appear to have deterred Sydney shoppers with tens of thousands turning out for the annual sales.
Bright and early! Hundreds lined up outside David Jones in the early hours of Tuesday morning to get their hands on the clearance sales
The National Retail Association said Australian shoppers were expected to spend more than $2 billion on Boxing Day
Several hundred people were waiting outside the Myer department store when doors opened at 5am on Tuesday.
Tens of thousands descended on the city and the National Retail Association said Australian shoppers were expected to spend $2.36billion on Boxing Day.
Meantime, Victorian officials ramped up security at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Boxing Day test, with spectators warned to allow extra time for bag checks.
The Victorian government has said there would be an increased police presence at other major events, including upcoming New Year’s Eve festivities.
‘If you see something that you don’t think is right, speak to one of the many members of Victoria Police that will be out and about over this really busy period,’ Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters at the weekend.
Concrete bollards are moved into place for the Boxing Day sales in Sydney on Tuesday
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