Victoria Police will be alongside revellers as the clock counts down to midnight as part of a significant state-wide operation focused on high visibility policing and community safety.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Tim Hansen said the public would notice a highly-visible police presence on New Year’s Eve as an extensive safety and security plan for the evening is rolled out across Victorian cities, towns, coastlines and popular holiday destinations.
“Police will be working hard at all hours of the day and night right across the state to keep everyone safe, but it’s important to remember that everyone has a personal responsibility to look after themselves and others this New Year’s Eve,” A/AC Hansen said.
“We know excessive drinking and use of illicit drugs can lead to serious and devastating consequences, including violent crime, serious assault, anti-social behaviour and road trauma.
“If you choose to come into the CBD, the Port Phillip foreshore or any other regional events across Victoria to cause trouble on New Year’s Eve, don’t bother; you will be arrested and held to account if you break the law.
“We’re particularly focused on anti-social behaviour, violence, and drink and drug driving and we simply won’t tolerate any activity that puts others at risk.”
Throughout the CBD, along the beaches and other popular regional destinations, frontline police will be supported by specialist squads including the Water Police, Mounted Branch, Public Order Response Team, Dog Squad and Air Wing.
The highly trained Critical Incident Response Team will also patrol the CBD, inner city areas and places of mass gatherings ready to respond to any incidents that may arise.
On the state’s roads, Operation Roadwise will continue targeting drink, drug, speeding and distracted drivers.
“There is no need for the community to be alarmed by our presence – we are there to keep you safe and hope our presence makes you comfortable as you bring in the new year,” A/AC Hansen said.
“We will also be proactively targeting crime and anti-social behaviour at major public transport precincts across the city.
“Mobile PSOs will be on trains and trams and at train stations around Melbourne and key regional hubs including Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon.
“There will be a number of road closures in place across the CBD and Southbank, as well as other suburban and regional areas where public celebrations are being held, so we encourage everyone to plan ahead and use public transport where you can.”
Police will activate Operation Omni throughout the CBD, providing officers with additional search powers under the Control of Weapons Act.
These additional powers allow police to search for and detect any weapons coming into the city and surrounds, eliminating anti-social and dangerous behaviour.
A/AC Hansen also reminds the community about the dangers of using illegal fireworks.
“Anyone thinking of using illegal fireworks should reflect on whether they want to risk being responsible for the death or serious injury of another person,” A/AC Hansen said.
“Anyone caught using fireworks without a licence can face criminal charges including jail for up to 15 years and thousands of dollars’ worth of fines.”