Crowds well behaved as Operation Axils concludes at 2018 Newcastle 500, NSW

Police have praised the good behaviour of the majority of spectators following the conclusion of the high-visibility operation for the second year of the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, NSW Police say.

Operation Axils commenced last Thursday (22 November 2018), to ensure the safety and security of competitors, officials and spectators throughout the event.

General duties officers from Newcastle City Police District and across Northern Region, the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), Operations Support Groups (OSG), Dog Unit, PolAir, Licensing Police, Bicycle Unit, Youth Command (PCYC), Marine Area Command, Police Transport Command and Traffic & Highway Patrol Command were involved in the operation.

Of note, officers attached to Operation Axils arrested and charged a 20-year-old woman after allegedly throwing paint at signage on the race track about 2.10am on Friday (23 November 2018). She was charged with malicious damage and granted conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 13 December 2018. A 21-year-old man was also arrested but later released pending further inquiries.

In a separate incident, a 40-year-old man was arrested after allegedly exposing his buttocks to police about 6pm on Saturday (24 November 2018). He was taken to Newcastle Police Station where he was issued with an infringement notice for offensive conduct.

Operation Axils Commander, Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell, said it was positive to see the majority of racegoers behave appropriately and enjoy themselves at the event over the weekend.

“Police were out in force across the event footprint, focusing on road safety, crowd behaviour, and minimising the impact of the event on the local community,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.

“We were very pleased with the behaviour of most people who attended the race, and it was great to see so many families return to the city this year in support of the Newcastle 500.

“Police worked closely with Supercars and Transport NSW in the lead up and throughout the event to create a safe and family-friendly atmosphere.

“There were a small number of attendees who ignored our warnings and tried to spoil the fun for others, but they were identified and dealt with quickly,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.

Road safety was another focus of the operation, with officers conducting more than 418 random breath tests, and issuing 215 Traffic Infringement Notices (TINs), including 95 for speeding offences.

“Police will maintain a presence on the roads in and around Newcastle and major routes, to ensure motorists’ safety on their journey home,” Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell said.

“Our Traffic and Highway Patrol officers have done an excellent job this weekend, reminding drivers of the dangers of speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“With school holidays and the festive season just around the corner, police are reminding the public to leave the racing to the professionals on the track.

“We do not want to see any more tragedies on our roads and those that choose to engage in risky driver behaviour will face the full force of the law,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said.

Special event clearways and road closures will remain in place throughout the week. Motorists are urged to visit www.livetraffic.com for more information.

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