Melbourne, Oct 15: Australian Federal Police today said the trend of youth coming under the police radar is "very concerning", as it confirmed that a 12-year-old boy was being monitored in connection with a recent shooting incident.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the issue of terrorism was becoming more difficult to manage. "Yes, the problem is getting worse for Australia, not better.
The numbers of individuals that we're concerned about overseas has plateaued a little, as the Foreign Minister has said," Colvin said.
Expressing his concern over young people coming up on the radar, he said, "We're shocked that a 12-year-old is on the police radar for these type of matters."
AFP was now watching the boy in connection with the fatal shooting of Curtis Cheng by 15-year-old Farhad Jabar at NSW police headquarters in Parramatta.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, opening a national meeting on countering violent extremism in Canberra today said, the shooting of a NSW police accountant by a 15-year-old showed radicalisation and extremism could be seen in the very young.
"This is a real home-grown threat," he said. Turnbull said those present must be prepared to experiment and try new approaches."
"Some of you will have tried things that didn't work," he said, adding, "Some of you will have tried things that worked a lot better than you thought." Colvin said, "Some very good work is being done by our border agencies and our police and security agencies to stop people from leaving for the conflict zones, but there's no doubt that this problem is becoming more acute and more difficult."
"Obviously police will always have an important role to play because ultimately we carry the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the community," he said.
"But before police are involved, there's many things that we can do to intervene at earlier stages and that may not involve police," he added.
Colvin further said, "We have to be careful to find the balance and make sure the community understand what we're doing and work with them because, as we keep saying, police cannot be everywhere, we cannot watch everyone."