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October 20, 2021

Byron mayor calls for more police on NYE

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Chris Dobney

Carefully laid plans for a safe and family-friendly New Years Eve in Byron Bay are in tatters after Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) have withdrawn permission for roadblocks at entry points to the town.

The refusal has left Greens mayor Simon Richardson seeing red and calling on more police to be rostered on to man the roads leading into Byron, prepared to turn away the kind of drunken rabble that trashed the town last New Years Eve.

Mayor Richardson is hoping to meet with the police commissioner and the emergency services minister to press his point.

He has already booked a meeting with local police early next week to ‘see what they need, how Council can help and be reassured necessary police numbers will be on the ground’.

‘Extra New Years Eve revellers and alcohol can unfortunately lead to a dramatic jump in antisocial behaviour and our community needs to be assured that we will have the police support we need this year,’ he said

‘The streets of Byron Bay town centre have been declared alcohol free and we need to ensure that our local police will have enough numbers to enforce this on our busiest night of the year.’

The call comes the NSW Police Association has itself backed the campaign by local community group Last Drinks at 12 to have the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority intervene in Byron Bay to prevent the expected escalation in alcohol-related violence and harm in Byron over the Christmas–New Year period.

This news comes as Byron’s Cheeky Monkeys and Lismore’s Cocktails bar were today named equal third most violent venues in NSW, with 16 violent incidents each in the past 12 months.

Last Drinks at 12 have requested an urgent community conference of all local stakeholders before Christmas chaired by the ILGA chairperson.

Scott Weber, the president of the NSW Police Association, has written to the head of ILGA, Chris Sidoti, endorsing the Last Drinks campaign and asking that he ‘urgently consider the concerns and requests of the Last Drinks at 12 community group, to pre-emptively avoid tragedy before it happens’.

Despite the RMS refusal, the Council will push ahead with its plans for a more family-oriented celebration, moved from the beach to Jonson Street, and ending at 10pm.

‘The Community Centre’s creative flair will highlight Byron’s character as a chilled-out community that embraces colour, dance, humanity and the environment,’ Mayor Richardson said.

‘This is a whole-of-community response. Our residents and business community have stepped forward with the Safe Summer in the Bay program. Bottom line is our community also needs extra police support on the peak night of the year.’

 


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9 COMMENTS

  1. Alstonville show grounds is hosting a fully secured no alcohol family friendly NYE party – starts at 5.30pm & fireworks at 9.30pm – lots of entertainment!

  2. And so the blood must run in defence of the lure of gold for various businesses in Byron.

    I recall a few years ago police were disallowing, or at least discouraging, backpackers from getting off buses arriving in Byron during the festive season, unless they had accommodation booked. Doubtless in these ‘enlightened’ times that would be seen as a breach of people’s human rights.

    Go, blood, go!

  3. If the police can’t man the road blocks I’m sure there’s more than a few local residents who’d like to stand out there with water cannons at the ready. Reclaim our town!

  4. Thanks for nothing RMS.You people sit in your offices in Sydney and have no idea what we people in rural areas have to put up with.Get off your butts and see what happens in the real world.Byron Bay will be trashed again by car boot grog bogans flowing into town for just one night.The OHallorans worked hard back in the 90s to stop the rot (road blocks) and it worked,it needs to be implemented again.
    To the people that know it works and had to put up with back in 90s get your pens and emails flowing to save our beautiful town.I am so fed up with the short term money grabbers with no ties to making our shire a better place.

  5. How creating a family orientated Byron New Years celebration will stop alcohol related violence, binge drinking, underage drinking, drink driving, sexual assault, vandalism and smashing up our town is unclear to me. Families go out and go home. Venues keep serving alcohol till 03:00. No family is going to hang around in Byron till 3-4:00 am to maintain a ‘family atmosphere’ in an attempt to somehow prevent the problems we’ve had year after year. Late night drinking is the problem. It doesn’t matter how many police there are, the police have said many times, they ‘can’t arrest the problem away’
    Look foreword to another $50,000 plus council bill. Look forward to getting out the gloves and the garbage bags, looks like we’ll be cleaning up vomit, bottles and condoms again this New Year
    Hope the publicans rake in the cash and laugh their way to the bank all over again

  6. In my day we counted ourselves lucky to have vomit, bottles and condoms. Used to dream of them. People these days don’t know how lucky they are.

    • In your day you might have choked on your vomit, impaled on a bottle, and been on the wrong end of an “UN-consented” condom. Maybe you see this as romantic. In reality it is young people hospitalized with alcohol toxicity (some die…wooooAAH!!), while others are stabbed, king hit and raped. Still romantic for you?? Do you have kids out at night in Byron? I doubt it.

  7. Here are some other points that have not been put into the public arena for comment. Police unit have a specified number of police at any one area. ALL police are rostered on on New Years Eve. This year not only do we have the visitors that are here to celebrate at our home renowned as the world famous Byron Bay but we also have the Falls Festival advertising and selling tickets saying come to Falls at Byron Bay, not at Yelgun. So where do all the patrons want to stay if they cannot book a site at the North Parklands not knowing that it is 30 minutes from Byron, that’s right Byron Bay. Not only is Byron going to have all the revelers that are in the Bay for the night, they are going to be hit with all the revelers getting on and of buses at all hours of the night and morning to get home to the accommodation booked in the bay. After waiting for buses at the site and charged with alcohol say no more. As the police are only so many and have to cover the whole of the shire. How are they going to be able to do this…. welcome to the New Year Byron… its going to be interesting if not down right invasive no matter which way you look at it

  8. The only answer here is to have overwhelming force on the streets. Zero tolerance. Any breach of the CBD -wide alcohol free zone incurs a fine, or an arrest, and a move-on order – surely!!

    … I have a friend who does security for [a local] Hotel. He told me that last Saturday night they evicted [a very large number of] inebriated trouble makers on the to the streets of Byron. That’s just one hotel. These evictees are out of control, intoxicated and dangerous…..but the streets of Byron are their dumping ground. [The pubs have] no further responsibility after they are turfed. Doesn’t anyone find this morally wrong and outrageously anti-social. Last Drinks @ 12 !!!!!!! Get behind them, wind back the madness.

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