Sydneysiders reminded to celebrate safely as Mardi Gras fever heats up the CBD

Saturday, 04 March 2017 04:51:13 AM

Police are urging spectators attending tonight’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade to look out for one another and celebrate safely.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to head into the Sydney CBD this evening (Saturday 4 March 2017), as parade participants light up the streets in a colourful celebration of rainbow pride and diversity.

Operation Rothbury, a high-visibility policing operation, has been launched to ensure public safety at this year’s parade.

The operation will involve General Duties officers assisted by specialist units, including: the Public Order and Riot Squad; Operations Support Group; Mounted Unit; Dog Unit (including drug-detection dogs); PolAir; Licensing Police; Traffic and Highway Patrol Command; and, Police Transport Command.

Operation Rothbury Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Crandell, reminded parade participants, spectators, residents and the wider community to look out for one another at tonight’s event.

“Police have been working with parade organisers and the LGBTIQ community to ensure a safe and fun night for all those taking part and supporting the event,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

“We’re pleased to continue our collaborative effort and are focused on maintaining professional policing services for everyone involved based on mutual respect and recognition of the LGBTIQ community.”

Police will be focused on maintaining public safety and security, particularly during peak crowd movements before and after the parade, when thousands will be making their way through major transport hubs.

“With thousands of people taking part in the parade and many thousands more coming to support the event, ensure you plan your night ahead of time; know how you’re getting there, what you’re doing at the parade and how you’re making your way home,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

“A number of major road closures will be in place so it’s best to leave the car at home and utilise the many additional public transport services available.”

Access the ‘Trip Planner’ application and check the latest timetable and ticketing information for trains, buses, ferries and taxi ranks via www.transportnsw.info.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area and expect significant delays if you are making your way through the CBD,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

“It’s important that drivers exercise patience and be aware of heavy pedestrian traffic – while members of the public must remember to only cross at designated traffic control points to ensure your safety.”

Keep up-to-date with special event traffic information as well as live traffic reports by visiting www.livetraffic.com.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell reminded people that police will target anyone taking or dealing illicit drugs, as well as those engaged in alcohol-related crime or anti-social behaviour.

“The entire event footprint is an Alcohol-Free Zone so alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited within these areas. Police will therefore confiscate and dispose of alcohol that has been or is likely to be consumed in a public place,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

“Make no mistake, alcohol affects your ability to assess risks, make decisions and behave responsibly so think before you drink and don’t ruin your night with foolish behaviour.

“The same goes for those who consume or attempt to distribute illicit drugs. Not only are you committing a criminal offence but you’re also taking a serious gamble with your health – you cannot be sure what you are consuming, so do not take the risk,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

Members of the public are encouraged to visit the City of Sydney website: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au for further information on Alcohol-Free Zones in Sydney.

Sydneysiders are reminded that the lockout laws will remain in place this weekend.

In addition, all NSW bottle shops, liquor stores and venues will be prohibited from selling take-away alcohol after 11pm.

“The majority of locals will be familiar with the alcohol laws and it doesn’t mean you can’t still have a great night. We don’t want to spoil the fun for anyone but our priority is public safety, so if you’re out celebrating tomorrow night, make a plan and look out for your mates,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Crandell said.

Visit the official event website for more information about the parade and after party, including directions for those who’ve purchased tickets for priority seating: http://www.mardigras.org.au.