POLICE have doubled the number of officers at tonight’s AFL opener at the MCG, and there will be a strengthened police presence in the city and public events over the Easter long weekend in the wake of the Brussels terror attack.
Premier Daniel Andrews said that the added police would help ensure Victoria didn’t let “these evil murders win out”.
“It remains the case that there is no intelligence to suggest any link between the events in Europe and anybody here,” Mr Andrews said.
“That is obviously very encouraging news but it is important that longstanding protocols have been put in place - and they have been.
“Melburnians and Victorians will see a significantly increased police presence at a number of public events, a number of public places right throughout the Easter weekend.
“That is exactly the response that Victorians can expect and that is how we will keep Victoria safe.”
More police will patrol soccer and football matches, and key city train stations.
The “ring of steel” surrounding the MCG has been taken down ahead of tonight’s AFL curtain raiser between Carlton and Richmond.
But Melbourne Cricket Club security guards will check every bag and use handheld metal detectors on most fans.
Mr Andrews said he hoped that the added police wouldn’t delay fans entering the MCG.
“This is exactly the response in relation to events in Sydney, events in Paris,” Mr Andrews said.
“These are well practiced, well established protocols and the most important thing is that Victoria Police have put those in place.
“Everybody going to the footy tonight will see, and very much notice, an extra police presence ... that should be a reassurance to everybody going to the football that the resources are there and the determination is there to make sure we keep Victoria safe.”
Victoria Police assistant commissioner Doug Fryer said people needed to be alert, not alarmed.
“We need to go about our daily lives as we do and not be bunkered down.
“It is a heightened level of awareness. We just all need to be really quite aware of our environment at the moment.”