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australia

Security stepped up after Australian police foil ‘terrorist plot to bring down plane’

Security has been stepped up at all major airports in Australia after a bomb plot to bring down a passenger plan was uncovered. Four men were arrested during raids at homes in Sydney’s suburbs after the “Islamic-inspired” plan was foiled . Bomb-making materials were found at the properties.

The target was a plane bound to the Middle East from Sydney. Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “I can report that there has been a major joint counter-terrorism operation to disrupt a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane.”

Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colivn said details were scant on the specifics of the attack, the location and timing.

“In recent days, law enforcement has been become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist attack using an improvised devise,” he said.

“We are investigating information indicating the aviation industry was potentially a target of that attack.”

Mr Turnbull advised travellers in Australia to arrive at airports earlier than usual – two hours before departure – to allow for extra security screening, and minimise carry-on baggage. Justice minister Michael Keenan said the plot was the 13th significant threat disrupted by police since Australia’s terror threat level was elevated in 2014.

Five plots have been executed.

“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” Mr Keenan said.

“In light of this information, it’s very important that everyone in Australia remains vigilant.”

The operation was carried out by the Australian Federal Police, New South Wales state police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the country’s main domestic spy agency. Seven Network television said 40 riot squad officers wearing gas masks stormed an inner-Sydney house before an explosives team found a suspicious device. The plotters were reported to be making a peroxide-based explosive device rather than using nitrate-based chemicals that can be detected by airport security swab tests .

Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi used such a peroxide-based explosive, triacetone triperoxide, during the attack on May 22.

Tunisia: Proposed bill could give security forces carte blanche to use unnecessary lethal force

A bill on the agenda for discussion in Tunisia s parliament today could bolster impunity for security forces by granting them immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force as well as potentially criminalizing criticism of police conduct, said Amnesty International today. The proposed law, known as the Repression of attacks against armed forces bill, would authorize security forces to use lethal force to protect property even when it is not strictly necessary to protect life, contrary to international standards . It would exempt security forces from criminal liability in such cases if the force used is deemed necessary and proportionate . The bill was first proposed by the government to parliament in April 2015 and was reintroduced at the demand of police unions. This bill is a dangerous step towards institutionalizing impunity in Tunisia s security sector

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International s North Africa Research Director

This bill is a dangerous step towards institutionalizing impunity in Tunisia s security sector .

The fact that parliament is even considering this bill is a sign of the lack of political will on the part of the government to ensure accountability for abuses by the security services . The bill also flouts the country s own constitution which guarantees the right to life, freedom of expression and access to information, said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International s North Africa Research Director.

Tunisian security forces have been targeted in the past but giving them freer rein to use lethal force and immunity from prosecution is not the way to address this challenge . The Tunisian parliamentshould reject this bill and focus on measures to end the impunity enjoyed by the security forces. Tunisian security forces have been targeted by armed groups in a series of attacks since 2015 . Tunisia s parliamentary committee on General Legislation is due to hold a hearing today with the Minister of Interior whose ministry drafted the bill . Later in the day, the committee will also meet with the security forces unions which have been advocating1 for the adoption of the bill.

The bill allows security forces to respond with lethal force to an attack on property that does not threaten lives or risk causing serious injury . Article 18 of the bill would exempt members of the security forces from criminal liability for injuring or killing anyone , including as a result of using lethal force to protect against attacks on homes, objects or vehicles, if the force used is deemed necessary and proportionate to the danger . This is contrary to the state s obligation to respect and protect the right to life. Using lethal force solely to protect property would not be necessary and proportionate . The UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms restrict the use of lethal force by law enforcement to situations where it is strictly necessary to protect life . These standards require that an independent authority assess whether the use of lethal force leading to a death or serious injury was necessary and proportionate.

In February 2017, Amnesty International published a report2 highlighting how violations committed by security forces in the context of the state of emergency, including torture and arbitrary arrests, are threatening the country s path to reform . No security officers have been convicted for these violations so far. In Tunisia, abuses committed in the name of security almost always go unpunished

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International s North Africa Research Director

In Tunisia, abuses committed in the name of security almost always go unpunished . This has created an atmosphere of pervasive impunity, where security forces feel that they are above the law and need not fear prosecution, said Heba Morayef.

Granting security forces legal immunity from prosecution through this bill will only embolden perpetrators of human rights violations.

In June, members of Tunisia s infamous El Gorjeni anti-terrorism brigade complained3 to the parliamentary security and defence committee about the number of allegations of torture and other ill-treatment directed towards them, describing such allegations as a form of harassment . The bill also includes vague provisions that could criminalize legitimate criticism of the security forces including for human rights abuses . Article 12 of the bill criminalizes the denigration of police and other security forces with the aim of harming public order , making it punishable with a penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of up to 10,000 dinars. Articles 5 and 6 of the bill provide for up to 10 years in prison and a 50,000 dinar fine for those who disclose or publish national security secrets .

This is defined as any information, data and documents related to national security , an overly broad definition which could be used to imprison those revealing information about human rights violations . No protection from prosecution is provided for whistleblowers or journalists. These provisions are inconsistent with Tunisia s obligation to uphold freedom of expression and the public s right to access information under international law and according to the country s constitution.

During a review of its human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in May, Tunisia received at least 10 recommendations4 relating to strengthening accountability for human rights violations by security forces .

By accepting these recommendations Tunisia has committed to take concrete steps to fight impunity.

It is deeply disappointing to see that this bill, which fundamentally threatens the human rights gains Tunisia has made since 2011, back on the table, said Heba Morayef.

Tunisia must abide by its commitments to uphold its human rights obligations by ensuring greater oversight of the security sector and taking concrete steps to address impunity once and for all.

References

  1. ^ advocating (www.france24.com)
  2. ^ report (www.amnesty.org)
  3. ^ complained (www.mosaiquefm.net)
  4. ^ recommendations (www.amnesty.org)

Security guard accused of breaking the jaw and knocking out the teeth of a Sydney man outside a Gold Coast hotel

  • WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
  • Bouncer Dennis Faulkner has pleaded not guilty to breaking a man’s jaw
  • Alleged victim Dominic Beinke suffered fracture jaw, knocked out teeth
  • He denied provoking Faulkner before the attack on the Gold Coast in 2014
  • CCTV footage shows the men scuffling on the ground outside a hotel

|

A Sydney 2man has denied provoking a security guard before being punched and having his jaw broken outside a Gold Coast hotel over three years ago. Dennis Hecta Tipene Faulkner is on trial on one count of grievous bodily harm at Southport District Court after the incident outside the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Surfers Paradise on February 9, 2014. Alleged victim Dominic Beinke suffered a double fracture to his left jaw after being punched by Faulkner following a scuffle between the pair, Mr Beinke’s brother Patrick, and another guard. Bouncer Dennis Faulkner has pleaded not guilty to breaking a man’s jaw during a scuffle

Alleged victim Dominic Beinke shows the aftermath of his devastating injuries

Faulkner pleaded not guilty to the charge as the trial, set down for three days, began on Monday. The court heard the incident occurred shortly after Mr Beinke escorted Patrick from a friend’s engagement party back to the hotel where he was staying with another brother and his partner. After being let into the venue by security, the pair got into an argument with security when they were denied access to the hotel due to Patrick not having a key or identification. Mr Beinke told the court while his brother had got aggressive and demanded to be let into the hotel, he’d attempted to defuse an escalating situation.

CCTV footage played in court showed Mr Beinke and Patrick arguing with Faulkner. Mr Beinke claimed the guard said he was going to ‘knock out’ the pair. The alleged victim suffered a double fracture to his left jaw after being punched by Faulkner following a scuffle Further footage outside the hotel showed Patrick and the other guard scuffling on the ground when Faulkner swings a right fist into Mr Beinke’s jaw, felling him and leaving him momentarily unconscious. Faulkner’s barrister Chris Rosser said Mr Beinke and his brother had both been aggressive when they were denied access to the room, with Mr Beinke pushing his forehead against Faulkner’s. He said Mr Beinke’s claims Faulkner had promised to ‘knock out’ the pair was false and the pair had been constantly swearing and abusing the guard before the incident.

Mr Beinke denied provoking Faulkner before the attack on the Gold Coast in 2014 Mr Beinke denied Mr Rosser’s claims he’d called Faulkner a ‘dumb black c***’ and told him to ‘f*** off back to New Zealand’.

‘I do not agree with that at all,’ Mr Beinke said. ‘I was saying ‘I’m not going to fight you’.’ Mr Beinke admitted he and his brother were ‘somewhat’ intoxicated at the time of the incident but he ‘knew what was happening’.

The trial continues.

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References

  1. ^ e-mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  2. ^ Sydney (www.dailymail.co.uk)