Police are pleased with overall patron behaviour at this year’s Nimbin Mardi Grass event on the state’s Far North Coast but are disappointed by the number of people still getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs.
Police from Richmond PD ran a number of concurrent operations during last weekend’s event (Friday 3 May – Sunday 5 May 2019), including a drug bus operation, a drug dog operation and a high-visibility policing operation in the Nimbin township utilising operation support group, target action group, the police dog unit and general duties police.
Of note, a 24-year old Queensland man was charged with several drugs offences, including supply commercial quantity prohibited drug. He was granted conditional bail to appear at Lismore Local Court on Monday 15 July 2019.
A 17-year-old man was charged with offensive behaviour, assault police and resist arrest. He’s been granted conditional bail to appear at a children’s court in Lismore on Friday 24 May 2019.
Nine persons were issued Court Attendance Notices for drug offences (Cannabis, Methamphetamine, LSD, Mushrooms, MDMA, Diazapam), more than 20 cannabis cautions were issued, and two youth cautions were issued.
As a part of police operations surrounding Mardi Grass, a high-profile random breath testing and random drug testing operation was conducted, which concluded yesterday (Monday 6 May 2019).
During the event, a number of high-profile stationary sites were set up around Nimbin to detect and deter people driving with drugs or alcohol present in their system.
Sixty-five people had their oral fluid sample return a positive indication for the presence of a prohibited drug. Of those, 28 were for cannabis, 14 for cocaine, 12 for methylamphetamine, nine for cannabis and methylamphetamine, and two for cocaine and methylamphetamine.
All were suspended from driving for 24 hours.
Police will await laboratory testing results from a second sample before determining further legal action.
Richmond Police District Chief Inspector Nicole Bruce said police are very concerned by the large number of drivers testing positive to drugs.
Police want to remind motorists that driving under the influence of prohibited drugs is not only illegal, it is immeasurably irresponsible and dangerous.
“Illegal drugs have an adverse effect on the precise skills, concentration and response times required to safely drive a motor vehicle.
“Those who drive while under the influence of any drug are automatically at greater risk of injuring or killing themselves, their passengers and other road users,” Chief Insp Bruce said.
Despite this, she says majority of attendees were abiding by the rules and cooperating with police to ensure the event was safe and enjoyable for the community.
“Approximately 3,000 people came to the small town of Nimbin this year, which was down on original estimates. The majority of people were having a good time while keeping safe” Chief Insp Bruce said.