Terror threat prompts overhaul of justice database in South Australia


Canberra: The government of South Australia (SA) has announced the largest overhaul of its criminal justice database in 30 years.

Corey Wingard, the state’s correctional services minister, on Wednesday announced that the government has made a 15 million Australian dollar (10.3 million US dollar) down payment on a new system to better-monitor the movement of criminals.

The decision was prompted by terror attacks on Australian soil, most notably the 2014 Lindt cafe siege in Sydney during which lone gunman Man Haron Monis held 18 people hostage for 16 hours ending in the deaths of Monis and two civilians.

An inquiry into the incident revealed deficiencies in communication between security agencies.

In a separate incident in 2017, Somalian-born terrorist Yacqub Khayre, who was previously known to police, killed one man and held a woman hostage for hours in Melbourne’s southeast suburbs.

“There have been a number of high profile terrorism incidents in Australia in which the offenders were known to correctional services,” Wingard told News Corp Australia.

“Man Monis, who carried out the deadly Lindt cafe siege in Sydney in 2014, and Yacqub Khayre, who murdered a receptionist and held a (woman) hostage in Melbourne in 2017, were both known to the system.”

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2017 agreed that corrections agencies must play a greater role in collecting national intelligence data.

The new database, named iSAFE, will integrate information about a criminal’s prosecutions and their interactions with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, but it will take three years for it to be fully operational.

Wingard said, “iSAFE will make that information more easily accessible to the law enforcement agencies charged with public safety.”