Protocol Guidelines

11. Protective security

11.1 Australia's security obligations

The Australian Government takes seriously its obligations under the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations for the protection of diplomatic and consular missions and their staff. These obligations have been implemented in Australia by the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1967 and the Consular Privileges and Immunities Act 1972, and augmented by the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 and the Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons) Act 1976.

11.2 Protection of personnel and premises

The Security Coordination Branch, Emergency Management Australia, which comes within the portfolio of the Attorney-General's Department, has responsibility for coordinating protective security for diplomatic and consular premises and personnel in Australia. As part of that role, SCB liaises with the relevant police authorities, security agencies and government departments in order to assess the level of threat. The threat assessment is the basis for the protective security package afforded to diplomatic and consular missions.

The protective security package for diplomatic and consular missions combines high visibility uniform patrols, uniformed officer foot patrols and, where necessary, close personal protection (CPP). Where there is a specific threat, protective security arrangements commensurate to the threat will be implemented.

The SCB can organise security briefing sessions for diplomatic and consular missions. Contact should be made in the first instance with the Director, Dignitary Security, SCB, on (02) 6141 3723.

Missions and posts are expected to provide an appropriate level of primary security, such as perimeter security, entry controls, intruder and duress alarms. The AFP Operations Coordination Centre (AOCC) in Canberra provides a monitoring and response service for alarms installed in chanceries, consulates and the head of mission/post residences in Canberra and interstate. The AOCC duty officer can be contacted on (02) 6126 7299.

The SCB, AFP, State and Territory police maintain close liaison with missions and posts, particularly those subject to threats or incidents.

In the ACT, New South Wales, Victoria and West Australia, protective security will normally be provided by AFP — Uniformed Protection (UP). AFP — UP provides regular vehicle patrolling of most areas where missions and posts are located. These patrols cover chanceries, consular offices and heads of mission/post residences. In cases of specific threat, patrols may also be deployed to cover staff residences.

AFP — UP is also authorised to act independently, in immediate response, where a particular threat develops or an incident takes place.

In the other States (Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania) and the Northern Territory, local police provide whatever protective security is considered necessary. Normal community policing arrangements apply. These can be reinforced where a particular situation requires additional resources.

The right of freedom of expression and peaceful political protest is a key part of Australia's system of democracy. This means that, from time to time, there may be protest activity directed at diplomatic and consular missions. The safety and dignity of missions will be respected and protected during any such protests.

The primary operational responsibility for law enforcement and public order rests with the police of the State or Territory concerned. In the ACT this is the Australian Federal Police (AFP), ACT Region — also known as ACT Policing. Local police are not able to provide any specific protection against burglaries or similar kinds of criminal activity.

11.3 Responding to emergencies and incidents

In an emergency, police should be the first point of contact. In all States and Territories dial 000 (for police, fire brigade or ambulance).

Other emergency police attendance numbers can be obtained from telephone white pages. These should be provided to receptionists and displayed in a prominent place inside the mission or post. It is also important that all staff and family members know the number to call. Diplomatic and consular staff are advised to know the telephone number of their local police station.

It is important that when making an emergency phone call that the caller declares the diplomatic status of the embassy or consulate.

Where there is a security incident or threat, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Protocol Branch) should also be advised as soon as possible on (02) 6261 3581 or (02) 6261 2273, or through the Protocol Branch duty officer number (02) 6273 1355 (outside business hours). In the event a threat has been received, missions or posts should provide details of the nature of the threat, the source of the information or the means by which the threat was conveyed and any other relevant details.