Police in the Australian state of Queensland have been instructed to keep a record of their interactions with people who hold a range of ideological beliefs, including “conspiracy theorists,” according to an email sent to all members of the Queensland Police Service, RT reports.
The email also stated that police must record interactions with “religious, social or political extremists and sovereign citizens, as well as people with ideologies relating to capitalism, communism, socialism or Marxism.”
The new guidance comes after a deadly shooting in December in Wieambilla, which left two police officers and a civilian dead.
Authorities are calling the incident a “religious terror attack,” citing the perpetrators’ Christian fundamentalist beliefs.
A police investigation concluded that the family responsible for the attack had “acted as an autonomous cell” and was not part of a wider network.
In light of the incident, Queensland police have been advised to report “all matters that indicate concerning or escalating behavior due to ideological beliefs, including religious and single-issue ideologies,” and to be aware of the risks associated with dealing with these groups.
The email stated that officers should record their interactions with such individuals in the state’s QPrime database “at the first available opportunity.”
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford told reporters that Christian extremist ideology has been linked to other attacks around the world but that this is the first time it has been seen in Australia.
She also acknowledged that there was no evidence the family responsible for the shooting had identified themselves as “sovereign citizens.”
The guidance issued to Queensland police has been met with some criticism, with concerns raised over potential profiling and targeting of certain groups.
However, authorities have emphasized that the new measures are necessary to prevent future attacks and to ensure the safety of the community.
The shooting in Wieambilla has raised concerns about the threat posed by extremist groups in Australia.
While incidents of this nature are relatively rare in the country, the government has been taking steps to combat extremist ideologies and to prevent future attacks.
The new guidance issued to Queensland police is just one of these measures.