The NSW Police Force have launched a high-visibility policing operation ahead of the 40th annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade tomorrow.
Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell, was joined by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Co-chair, Brandon Bear, to launch Operation Langdale at the Sydney Police Centre this morning (Friday 2 March 2018).
Operation Langdale will involve general duties officers assisted by specialist units, including the Public Order and Riot Squad; Operations Support Group; Mounted Unit; Dog Unit; PolAir; Licensing Police; Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Police Transport Command.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected flock to the Sydney CBD tomorrow (Saturday 3 March 2018), as a colourful celebration of rainbow pride and diversity makes its way through the streets for Sydney’s world-class Mardi Gras Parade, NSW Police say.
Operation Langdale Commander, Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell, said 2018 will be one of the biggest parades in history and it’s important that people keep safety at the top of their minds.
“Police have been working with parade organisers and the LGBTIQ community to ensure a safe and fun night for all those taking part and supporting the event,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
“We’re excited to continue our collaborative effort and are focused on maintaining professional policing services for everyone involved based on mutual respect and recognition of the LGBTIQ community.
“I’m proud to say NSW Police will be taking part in the parade for the 22nd year,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
“The 2018 theme of ‘40 Years of Evolution’ is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to come together as a community to acknowledge the events of the past and how far we have come in celebrating diversity and inclusiveness.”
Police will be focused on maintaining public safety and security, particularly during peak crowd movements when thousands of people will be making their way through major transport hubs before and after the parade.
“With thousands of people taking part in the parade and many thousands more coming to support the event, ensure you plan your night ahead of time; know how you’re getting there, what you’re doing at the parade and how you’re getting home,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
“A number of major road closures will be in place so it’s best to leave the car at home and utilise the public transport services available.
“Anyone driving in the CBD should expect significant delays and take extra care as there will be heavy pedestrian traffic,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
Assistant Commissioner Crandell reminded people that police will target anyone taking or dealing illicit drugs, as well as those engaged in alcohol-related crime or anti-social behaviour.
“The entire event footprint is an alcohol-free zone so alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited within these areas. Police will therefore confiscate and dispose of alcohol that has been or is likely to be consumed in a public place,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
“Make no mistake, alcohol affects your ability to assess risks, make decisions and behave responsibly so think before you drink and don’t ruin your night with foolish behaviour.
“The same goes for those who consume or attempt to distribute illicit drugs. Not only are you committing a criminal offence but you’re also taking a serious gamble with your health – you cannot be sure what you are consuming, so do not take the risk,” Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.
The NSW Government has relaxed the lockout requirements at licensed premises in the Oxford Street and Darlinghurst area for the event.
Patrons will be able to enter or re-enter licensed premises beyond the usual 1.30am or 2am times until closure. Venues will need to stop serving alcohol by 3am or 3.30am for venues with live entertainment extensions.
Visit the official event website for more information about the parade and after party, including directions for those who’ve purchased tickets for priority seating: https://www.mardigras.org.au.
Access the ‘Trip Planner’ application and check the latest timetable and ticketing information for trains, buses, ferries and taxi ranks via www.transportnsw.info.
Keep up- to-date with special event traffic information as well as live traffic reports by visiting www.livetraffic.com.
For further information on alcohol-free zones in Sydney visit the City of Sydney website: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.