Extra police as faith leaders calm 'combustible' Sydney

NSW Premier Chris Minns says police have enhanced patrols following two knife attacks in Sydney...
NSW Premier Chris Minns says police have enhanced patrols following two knife attacks in Sydney since the weekend. Photo: Getty Images
A bolstered police presence in western Sydney will continue, particularly around places of worship, as the premier hopes religious leaders can prevent any further violence amid attempts to divide on social media.

NSW Premier Chris Minns says Australia's largest city is in a combustible and abnormal situation and there's no point pretending otherwise.

"I can understand people's concern and anxiety in what has been an incredibly difficult week in Sydney," Mr Minns said, following a mass stabbing at a shopping centre in the city's eastern suburbs and an act of terror and subsequent riot at a western Sydney church. 

"It is a combustible situation, there's no point in pretending that everything is as normal," he told Seven's Sunrise programme on Wednesday.

Mr Minns said police now had enhanced patrols.

"Particularly in western Sydney, particularly around religious institutions, for the rest of the week and the weekend," he said.

The public has been urged to come together and act reasonably.

"Take the heed from the civic and religious leaders of this state who are calling for calm and an absolute repudiation of all kinds of violence," Mr Minns said.

The stabbing attack at Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley on Monday hospitalised two clergymen.

Responding police were injured during the subsequent riot, while paramedics had to seek refuge in the church as a large crowd gathered after the attack was captured during a social media livestream.

It was declared an act of terror on Tuesday, with an apparent religious motivation behind the attack allegedly committed by a 16-year-old with a history of knife-related crime.

Mr Minns said he had spoken with the five officers hospitalised after the riot.

"Several of them were back out on shift the next day," he said, praising their dedication.

The attack was streamed on social media, where federal Environment Minister and Sydney MP Tanya Plibersek warned lies are being used to divide a reeling city.

"We know there are people deliberately trying to stoke division on social media ... switch if off if you can," she told ABC TV on Wednesday.

The church stabbing has added to debate over knife crime after six people were killed when 40-year-old Joel Cauchi embarked on a stabbing rampage at big shopping centre Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday. 

Cauchi was shot dead by a police inspector after killing Dawn Singleton, 25, Jade Young, 47, Pikria Darchia, 55, Yixuan Cheng, 27, and 30-year-old Faraz Tahir, while Ashlee Good, 38, later died in hospital. Twelve others were wounded, including Ms Good's baby girl. 

Both had a history of inappropriate possession of knives, with the accused teenager on a good behaviour bond over a knife crime three months ago.

Another fatal stabbing attack near a school in Doonside in Sydney's west on Friday left an 18-year-old dead and a 19-year-old wounded.

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with murder, and a 17-year-old boy has been charged with accessory offences.

The NSW government doubled the maximum penalties for possessing or wielding a knife in a public place after paramedic Steven Tougher was killed in April 2023.

The maximum jail term increased from two to four years, while the maximum fine for possession doubled to $A4400 ($NZ4780) and wielding increased to $A11,000.