Police encourage community to look out for each other on Australia Day

The NSW Police Force is encouraging everyone to look out for their mates and loved ones this Australia Day long weekend, as they launch a state-wide police operation.

Operation Australia Day 2024 will commence at 00.01am tomorrow (Thursday 25 January 2022) and will run until 11.59pm on Monday 29 January 2024.

Police will be out in numbers – on the ground, in the air and on the water – as general duties officers are supported specialist units including the Police Transport Command, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Mounted Unit, Dog Unit and PolAir.

Double demerit points will apply for the duration of the operation for speeding, mobile phone, seatbelt, and motorcycle helmet offences.

The Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism, Yasmin Catley, encourages the community to behave in a way that reflects our shared values as Australians to ensure a safe and enjoyable day for all.

“Mateship, camaraderie, respect and diversity are all part of our story, and everyone has a role to play in looking out for their mates and loved ones this Australia Day,” Minister Catley said.

“If you plan on drinking, have a Plan B and know how you are getting home. Do not drink and drive and take care on and around waterways.”

Operation Australia Day 2024 Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Hegarty, said police are working closely with other government agencies to ensure a safe environment for all communities across metropolitan and regional areas in NSW.

We want everyone to feel safe and respected as we come together to reflect on our shared history and celebrate contemporary Australia,” Assistant Commissioner Hegarty said.

“We all love a good long weekend, however, what you need to know is your limits when consuming alcohol. Look after your mates, have a plan to get home safely, and know that police and emergency services are on hand if you need help.

“Our message is clear: make this an Australia Day to remember, not one you’d rather forget. Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

Australia Day was typically one of the most popular days to be on the water and Marine Area Commander, Superintendent Joe McNulty, Command is reminding skippers to check their vessel is in good working order and ensure the required safety equipment is on board, including lifejackets.

“Life jackets should be used by anyone heading out on a boat, jet ski, or kayak; as well as rock fishers.

“On Australia Day, Marine Area Command officers will also be focused on drink driving and will be random breath testing skippers on the water. The legal alcohol limit is 0.05 and anyone detected operating a boat while under the influence will face fines and charges,” Mr Mcnulty said.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Anthony Boyd, said “If you are planning to drink, don’t drive. Leave your car at home and catch public transport, taxis, or organise a designated driver.”

“Both marked and unmarked police cars will be out in force patrolling all major roads and back streets – so don’t take the risk because you will get caught,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Anthony Boyd said.

Transport for NSW Coordinator General Howard Collins said public transport services would run to a weekend or public holiday timetable with around 200 extra services, helping move thousands of people around throughout the day and night.

“Public transport is the best way to get to Australia Day events with road closures around Circular Quay and The Rocks in effect from as early as 4am,” Mr Collins said.

There will be major road closures in place on Australia Day and delays are expected. Extra public transport services will run, and people are encouraged to plan their journey ahead at transportnsw.info; and check traffic updates at the Live Traffic NSW website: www.livetraffic.com.au.

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