Senior British Police Team To Start Review of Lindt Cafe Siege Response

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Five senior British police officers, with expertise in counter-terrorism, hostage situations and firearms, begin work this week reviewing the actions of NSW Police Force during the deadly Lindt Cafe siege, ahead of the inquest’s final hearings. 

The British team, which recently landed in Sydney, will examine witness statements, forensic evidence and CCTV footage before reporting to State Coroner Michael Barnes.

The officers have been asked by the NSW coroner to conduct an independent review of the police response and management of the December 2014 siege (a terrorist attack) in the heart of Sydney. Two hostages died in the siege in the 17-hour stand-off perpetrated by a self-styled Islamic cleric/terrorist.

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Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, head of the British team

The British team’s lead investigator, Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, is the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead expert on armed policing. He began his career with Thames Valley Police and went on to become deputy chief constable, specialist operations, West Mercia Police. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

He previously headed the review of the police response to the 2010 shooting rampage by taxi driver Derrick Bird in Cumberland in northwest England. Recently, he called for elite armed police units to protect landmarks and infrastructure after the Paris terror attacks.

Also on the British team are Temporary Chief Superintendent Kerrin Smith, who has trained police in Iraq and has responsibilities for hostage negotiation work in the UK; Chief Inspector Trevor Clark and Inspector Nigel Kefford, both counter-terrorism specialists; and tactical firearms response expert Chief Superintendent Steve Whitton.

“The experts will examine large volumes of material, including witness statements, forensics, and CCTV and media footage of the event to determine whether the response was appropriate and adequate,” a NSW Coroner’s Court spokeswoman said.

They will table a detailed report before the inquest’s next hearings on March 21, and are also expected to testify at the review.

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