Police operation concludes after Australia Day 2020 celebrations

NSW Police have commended the behaviour of crowds joining in Australia Day events and celebrations across Sydney and regional areas.

Operation Australia Day 2020 was in place today (Sunday 26 January 2020), as significant crowds converged at events across NSW and on the Sydney Harbour foreshore.

General duties officers, assisted by specialist police, were deployed across the state throughout the operation to ensure a safe and secure environment for the community.

During the high-visibility policing response, 26 people were arrested and charged for a range of offences including affray, drink-driving, possess prohibited drug and malicious damage.

Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb APM, said police are pleased with the overall behaviour of crowds that celebrated our national holiday.

“The state-wide operation saw police in the air, on our roads, and on the water with the public’s safety being our top priority,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

“While there were a number of incidents that police responded to across the state, the majority of people were well-behaved and enjoyed their celebrations safely and responsibly.

“The main problem for police was anti-social and dangerous behaviour, with officers attending to intoxicated and aggressive people right across the event footprint – from the state’s Central Coast, to the Northern Beaches and Sydney’s south,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

Of note, about 2pm, a 38-year-old woman was arrested following a protest march at Victoria Park, Broadway. She was taken to Mascot Police Station where she was charged with willful and obscene exposure, fail to comply with police direction and resist arrest.

The woman was granted conditional bail to appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday 17 February 2020.

Marine safety was another focus of the operation, with a number of breath tests, drug tests and licensing inspections conducted.

Of note, about 6.45pm, officers from the Marine Area Command, with assistance from the Public Order and Riot Squad, Police Transport Command and the Dog Unit, boarded a licensed vessel near Bradleys Head in Sydney Harbour.

Officers allegedly located prohibited drugs, believed to be cocaine, and the vessel was directed to Walsh Bay Wharf.

The passengers disembarked and were screened with the assistance of a drug detection dog and officers from Operations Support Group.

A 24-year-old Picnic Point man was charged with supply prohibited drug and two counts of possess prohibited drug, while another 24-year-old Bonnyrigg man was charged with possess prohibited drug.

The men will appear at court at a later date, and inquiries into the incident are continuing.

Operation Safe Return, the annual road policing operation, continues until 11.59pm tomorrow (Monday 27 January 2020), during which double demerits will be in force for speeding, seatbelt, mobile phone, and drink and drug driving offences.

“Those who are planning to continue their celebrations into the morning are urged to do so safely – keep an eye on your mates and if you plan on having a drink – do so responsibly,” Assistant Commissioner Webb.

“Traffic and Highway Patrol Command officers will remain out in force on our roads, conducting random drug and alcohol testing, so remember you may still be over the limit in the morning.

“Alcohol leaves the body slowly, so if you have been drinking do not get behind the wheel – have a Plan B and think about a designated driver.

“We want everyone to make it home from their events and celebrations safely and to enjoy the rest of the long weekend without incident,” Assistant Commissioner Webb said.

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