A co-chair of the national peak body for First Nation’s legal services has slammed a plan to deploy counter-terrorism police in the Northern Territory as “outrageous” and “alarming”.

A unit of camouflaged police armed with military-grade assault weapons will be deployed in Darwin and Alice Springs to counter youth crime, the Northern Territory’s Police Commissioner has revealed.

The Territory Response Group or TRG is a part of the Australian government’s national counter-terrorism taskforce, and will be deployed to alleviate community concern about a spike in crime over the Christmas period, Commissioner Reese Kershaw says.

National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Service co-chair Cheryl Axleby says the move is similar to what was seen in the intervention.


The move comes one week after the Royal Commission handed down findings about over-arresting and over-charging of children and youths by police.

A key recommendation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from ten to 12 years of age has been accepted by the Territory government “principle” but there is currently no timeframe as to when that would come into effect.