Police wish everyone a safe and happy 2010 Mardi Gras

Gay Pride - Rainbow Flag

Gay Pride - Rainbow Flag

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by StreetCorner

Police would like to wish everyone a happy ‘2010 Mardi Gras’ and encourage everyone to enjoy the parade tomorrow night (Saturday 27 February) in the spirit of the event.

With tens of thousands of visitors converging on Oxford Street to watch the parade, it is the aim of the security operation to ensure everyone can enjoy the festivities in a safe, secure and incident free environment.

Assistant Commissioner Smith, Commander of the police operation said that last year, whilst the vast majority of spectators were well behaved, there were a number of incidents of anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime that occurred in Hyde Park and the surrounding area during and after the parade.

“As a result of those incidents police requested environmental changes to remove the element who attended the parade to commit crime, behave anti-socially and binge drink, often underage,” he said.

“In consultation with New Mardi Gras, we have implemented changes and specific strategies to remove this element from the descent people who enjoy the Mardi Gras Festivities.

During the 2009 Mardi Gras there were 499 incidents recorded with 182 charges recorded against those incidents.

After analysing last years Mardi Gras it was ascertained that 73 of the 499 incidents occurred in or surrounding Hyde Park including numerous serious offences (robberies and assaults) and arrests.

“The vast majority of these incidents were alcohol or drug related and there were no incidents recorded involving homophobic violence,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Smith added that police will be focusing heavily on alcohol related crime and makes no apologies for coming down hard on those individuals that break the law.

“We will also be targeting drug use and will have officers deployed throughout the Sydney CBD, not just Oxford Street,” he said.

Oxford Street is an Alcohol Free Zone and police will be enforcing the legislation to minimise alcohol related crime and violence in the event precinct.

Police urge Mardi Gras spectators to take note of the following:

• Police are appealing to all spectators, for safety reasons, to remain behind the barriers at all times during the parade and take direction from event security.

• Parade-goers are being urged to leave their cars at home and take public transport to and from the event.

• Special Event Clearways will be in place and motorists are advised to check signage before parking.

• Road closures and diversions in the Sydney CBD, East Sydney, Surry Hills and Darlinghurst areas will progressively take effect from 3pm Saturday.

All traffic information including road closures and clearways, together with maps, is available on the RTA website at www.rta.nsw.gov.au or for traffic updates, contact 132 701.

Operation “Hutchen”, will deploy in excess of 900 officers throughout the city, comprising of officers from general duties, Mounted Police, Public Order & Riot Squad, Highway Patrol and Gay & Lesbian Liaison Officers.

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