West Perth AU July 23 2017 Security arrangements have been boosted at WA Parliament and surrounding areas with the rollout of new armed protective service officers in response to the "changing security environment" being seen around the world.
The uniformed officers are attached to WA Police and have a very visible presence at the parliamentary precinct in West Perth.
This includes the area encompassing the Premier's office, Dumas House — where most ministers have their offices — and Parliament.
WA Police said the move was made "in response to the changing security environment being observed around the world".
In March a police officer and a pedestrian were among five people killed after a man with a knife brought terror to the heart of Westminster.
The attacker, armed with two large knives, mowed down pedestrians, including school children, with his car on Westminster Bridge, then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a policeman before he was shot dead by armed officers.
Many school groups visit WA Parliament throughout the year.
The move is a stark change from previous practice under which there was only a small police presence at WA's Parliament.
The new arrangements will not affect the separate and permanent security that operates from Parliament.
Detective Inspector Steve Post from WA Police security operations division said the change came after a review of existing security at a number of key government buildings, including Parliament.
"We are not about bricks and mortar, we are about protecting the people who work and visit those locations," he said.
"Having armed and uniformed officers in those key areas is a great visual presence and hopefully a deterrence for anyone who might do harm around those areas."
A WA Police spokesman said the officers carried firearms, tasers, pepper spray and batons.
"The Protective Service Officers have undertaken a high level of training specific to their role, which includes the same standard of training delivered to police officers in respect to use of force, for example firearm training," he said.
Deputy Premier Roger Cook said while he sometimes "felt a little bit uncomfortable" about the presence of so many security staff, the Government was accepting the advice of experts in relation to the level of security needed.
The officers are a new category of police auxiliary officers, have a range of police powers when on duty, and are managed by a team of sworn senior police officers.
The move brings security at WA Parliament into line with other Commonwealth, state and territory parliaments.
The 20 new protective services officers were rolled out at the beginning of the month and when the next group graduates, there will be a presence at other key locations.
The positions have been funded out of the existing WA Police budget.