NSW Police apologise for using headscarves in terror training exercise

NSW Police have apologised for using headscarves during a terror training exercise after it was found to have racially vilified Palestinians and Arabs.

The exercise, held at Sydney’s Central station in October 2017, involved around 200 people – including police and other emergency services – to test the coordination and response to a terrorist or high-risk incident.

It included two officers pretending to be “active armed offenders” using firearms holding “hostages” while wearing headscarves.


The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal in May it was unnecessary to use the scarves.

“We find that NSW Police Force, by allowing the two police officers portraying the armed offenders to wear keffiyehs associated with Palestinian and Arabic people, racially vilified Palestinians and Arabs,” the Tribunal found.

On Tuesday, NSW Police issued a statement acknowledging their mistake.

“NSW Police Force apologises for the use of these headscarves in the exercise,” it said.

“The Tribunal found that it was not necessary to use these headscarves to achieve the objectives of the exercise.”

“It found that using them had the capacity to incite members of the public to hatred and/or serious contempt of Palestinian and/or Arabic people. The NSW Police Force had no intention to vilify any racial group.

“However, the Tribunal has confirmed that there does not need to be any intent for racial vilification to occur.”