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Customs officers to be armed at Australian airports as immigration crackdown begins

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Government officers protecting Australian airports will soon be allowed to carry weapons as part of the move to establish the Australian Border Force.

The move to issue Customs and Border Protection Service officers with personal defensive equipment, including guns, is part of changes to the structure of the agency guarding Australia's entry points.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said equipping officers with weapons would add an extra layer of deterrence at Australia's borders.

Customs and Border Protection Service officers will be given weapons as part of tougher security measures being brought in across Australian airports in 2015

Passengers at Australian airports will notice increased security measures in the new year as the Federal Government implements tougher measures at entry points

'People smugglers, transnational crime gangs and narcotic traffickers should be under no illusion,' he said.

'This government is serious about border protection.

'This measure will not only increase the capability of our future Border Force officers, it will also add another layer of deterrence at our borders, and will ensure that the travelling public is as safe as possible," Mr Dutton said.

New Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has signalled his intention to get tough with criminals stating 'coming to Australia is a privilege and if you're coming here harming Australians, ripping off our welfare system, committing serious crimes, then you're at the top of my list for deporting'

The new Immigration Minister has vowed to come down hard on criminal syndicates, threatening to deport anyone convicted of serious crime or welfare fraud

The new Immigration Minister, who took over the portfolio during the recent Cabinet reshuffle, said officers would be better trained to deal with the 'complex' challenges they face.

Customs and Border Protection will be transformed into the Australian Border Force from July 2015.

Mr Dutton took to social media to outline his hard-line approach.

'If you're an illegal bikie, if you're part of an outlaw motorcycle gang involved in organised criminal activity, you've just made it to the top of my list, Mr Dutton stated.

'Coming to Australia is a privilege and if you're coming here harming Australians, ripping off our welfare system, committing serious crimes, then you're at the top of my list for deporting.'

His predecessor, Scott Morrison, recently announced beefed up security measures at major Australian airports.

'This is a critical step in the creation of the border force. It ensures better monitoring of our borders 24/7 in real time from the (Strategic Border Command) headquarters in Canberra,' he said.

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