Jul 18

G20: How cars will get into city ‘restricted areas’

Drivers will have their vehicles subjected to thorough checks by army personnel in the G20 restricted areas. Photo: suppliedIt won’t matter whether you’re Vladimir Putin’s personal bodyguard or the Hilton Hotel’s bread delivery guy – if you’re driving into Brisbane’s G20 “restricted areas”, the rules are all the same.

Your car, van, four-wheel-drive, SUV or bus will need to pass through initial army checkpoints, either at Suncorp Stadium in Milton or at the RNA Showgrounds.

Defence force personnel will scan your vehicle with electromagnetic equipment, opening the hood and using mirrors to check underneath.

It is then likely you will be asked to get out so that an interior hand search of the vehicle can be done. An explosives sniffer dog will also be called in to do a quick check.

If things get really hairy, Queensland police’s bomb detection robot can be called upon.

After that, you’re free to continue on your way – until you reach your destination within the restricted zone. Then there will be more searches.

Brisbane’s restricted areas include the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and nearby streets, the RNA Showgrounds, Suncorp Stadium bus terminal and CBD hotels that will be occupied by world leaders.

Cars arriving at the initial two checkpoints will only be allowed through if they have accreditation to enter the restricted zone, Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll says.

Drivers will also need to tell authorities what their intended destination within the restricted zone is, and if they fail to arrive within a set time limit, the car will need to return to the initial checkpoint.

The process was demonstrated on Monday morning by police and the ADF in Milton, with searches of sedans and four-wheel-drives taking between five and 10 minutes.

Australian Defence Force Major General Stuart Smith said 910 soldiers had been specially trained for 18 months to man the two checkpoints.

“We’ve got soldiers here who have got experience in Afghanistan doing high-profile search techniques and they’ve done specific rehearsals to build them up in preparation with the police over the last few months,” he said.

“They understand all the different scenarios, from the highest threat level to the most rudimentary threat level.”

Assistant Commissioner Carroll said more than 1000 cars would be searched in the coming weeks.

“It’s a wide variety of vehicles,” she said.

“Any vehicle that has access into the security area, especially the restricted area, will have to be searched.”

Assistant Commissioner Carroll declined to provide details on the time limits for drivers to reach their destinations.

“We deal in tight time frames and that’s part of the plan,” she said.

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