Police have rejected claims officers failed to respond to suspicious behaviour just weeks before the Christchurch mosques terror attack.

The Imam at Al Noor Masjid, Gamal Fouda has alleged that reports of suspicious activity and warning signs just weeks before – and in 2017 – were not taken seriously enough by police.

Fouda says photos of a stranger who was caught snooping around the Christchurch mosque two to three weeks before the attacks were sent to police.

And he claimed that around 2017, two white men arrived at the Deans Ave masjid and abused people, claiming that they were not true Muslims like them.


They allegedly abused two worshippers and told them to go back to where they came from.

But Police Commissioner Mike Bush has come out to reject the claims.

"At this time, I will just say that based on the information available to us at present, we are not aware of any information which could have prevented the attack," Bush said in a statement this afternoon.

He said it was an "incorrect perception" that police were aware of information which could have prevented the attack.

While he wanted to respond more fully to the claims, he was restricted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry which has been established to address many of the questions around the lead-up to the terror attack.

"Nevertheless, I do wish to address these claims, and police will be consulting with the Royal Commission of Inquiry to discuss whether we can quickly and fully respond, while maintaining the integrity of the Royal Commission process," he said.

Fouda, who survived the March 15 massacre where 43 members of his congregation were murdered during Friday prayer, says police didn't take the concerns seriously enough.

The Islamic leader is also adamant that the alleged gunman wasn't acting alone.


Looking back, he now believes that the 2017 visitors were white supremacists.

A 28-year-old Australian national has been charged with murdering 50 people. He is due back in court next month.

Christchurch businessman Philip Neville Arps - who owned a white supremacist themed insulation company – last month pleaded guilty to two charges of distributing footage of the Al Noor attack.

One charge was for sharing raw footage from the accused shooter's livestream to approximately 30 people on Facebook.

The other was for requesting the footage be modified by another person - having crosshairs and a "kill count" added.

The court heard he intended to distribute this modified footage as a meme.


A police statement says Arps, 44, said the modified footage was "awesome" - and says he showed no empathy for the people killed.

In 2016, Arps was one of a group of men who filmed themselves doing Hitler salutes as they delivered boxes of pigs heads and offal to the Al Noor Mosque.

"White power ... Bring on the cull," Arps was seen saying in the video.

High-tech security cameras powered by artificial intelligence gadgets that detect active shooters are being installed at Al Noor Masjid.

The state-of-the-art surveillance system is designed to detect an active shooter and alert police and other emergency services before shots are even fired.

The New Zealand mosque is understood to be the first place of worship in the world to be protected by the technology.


Police Assistant Commissioner of investigations Richard Chambers also announced today that an independent panel had been appointed to debrief the police's immediate response to March 15's attack.

"The debrief is an important process to ensure any lessons are learnt, and used to inform future operational responses and promote continuous improvement," he said.

"The debrief will enable us to examine our actions in relation to the 15 March 2019 terror attacks in a non-incriminating manner so we can take learnings, identify good practice and propose future improvements."

The panel members are former Australian Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas, former Solicitor General Mike Heron QC, and Director, Professional and Executive Development, Victoria University of Wellington Jeff Ashford.

The debrief process had been started but a timeline for when it would be completed had not been finalised, he said.