With Channel Nine’s A Current Affair crews mysteriously arriving along with officers from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) at Byron Bay over the weekend, one could be mistaken for thinking there was a blitz of some description taking place.
And while there were reports of increased police numbers, Tweed Byron crime manager Inspector Saul Wiseman said they were incorrect.
‘It was a pretty good weekend in Byron,’ Inspector Wiseman told Echonetdaily.
‘There were no reported alcohol related assaults and only a handful of street offences. At this time, that’s really positive.’
But chairwoman of the Byron Bay Liquor Accord, Hannah Spalding, told Echonetdaily that local licensees noticed more police in town.
‘Licensees felt there was definitely a greater visual presence in the main street’, she said. ‘It may be they had the same numbers but they deployed them in a different way.’
A spokesperson from the OLGR told Echonetdaily that its officers were up from Thursday to Saturday to meet with the Liquor Accord, police, Council and other stakeholders.
‘The meeting with the Accord focused on the implementation of the voluntary terms, which take effect from March 21.
‘The Accord also indicated its willingness to implement “refusal of entry guidelines” recently prepared by OLGR to assist licensed venues to deal with problem bar patrons.’
Mrs Spalding agreed there was nothing unusual in the visit from the OLGR, who met with licensees to talk about the terms of the new trial proposal.
‘They wanted to get some clarity with terms of the new proposal and to ensure everyone was on the same page before the final date.’
She said that she had heard that A Current Affair was in town and had let the police know that she was happy to speak to them, and to pass her number out, but she had not heard from them.
Inspector Wiseman says he is waiting on word from the Byron Bay Liquor Accord in regards to some of the changes in the trial proposal. ‘We are just not quite clear on a few points,’ he said.
‘We’ve been in communication over a couple of the key issues and we are waiting on a response before we make a comment.’ He added that Byron is still busy on the weekend.
‘We are still seeing a fair amount of activity but it was a quiet weekend from our point of view.’