Counter-terrorism police in New South Wales, Australia are reportedly tracking over 1,000 people linked to Neo Nazi groups and right wing extremism, along with mounting threats from Islamist radicalization, reported the Brisbane Times.
Due to the growing threat, New South Wales (NSW) recently launched a $3 million law enforcement training facility for combating terrorism.
Deputy Police Commissioner David Hudson said that regarding the growth of neo-Nazi groups, a “known entity management model” was in place to monitor “over 1,000 people in the state of NSW who may be of interest to us at some stage of the terrorism continuum.”
Police have also created a hate crime unit to identify extremists who have the potential to commit violent acts.
Hudson cautioned that a toxic mix of far right ideology and a “proliferation of violent online sentiment” could boil over into physical violence.
“Over the last two years, there has been an increase in ideological violent threats that we have seen, mainly through the online environment,” he told the Times. “Whilst we have seen probably a 30 to 40 percent increase in the ideological threats of terrorism, our biggest concern is still religious-based fundamentalism and extremism.”
In the last year, counter-terrorism agents have arrested three suspects in New South Wales who were allegedly preparing to commit violent acts.
There is also a growing concern that neo-Nazis may have established a foothold in the Australian army, in order to take advantage of the military training it provides.
Last year, a man who served in the Australian Defense Force had his passport cancelled after he was accused by the government of ties to extremism. Recently, an investigation by Australian media outlets found multiple instances of former soldiers joining or considering joining neo-Nazi groups.