Police have planned a huge security presence this New Year’s Eve in both Sydney and Melbourne, to ensure partygoers can enjoy the celebrations safely.
From assault rifles and barricades, to armed officers on the ground, in the air, on water and a dog unit close by, there are incredible measures being taken this year to ensure everyone’s safety.
More than a million people are expected to gather to watch the fireworks close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with more than half of that number also expected in Melbourne’s city centre.
Now police have confirmed that riot squad officers armed with semi-automatic rifles will be on hand, prepared to respond and launch an armed assault should a high-risk situation occur.
NSW police deputy commissioner Jeff Loy confirmed in a statement that the security operation, named Operation Narimba, has been planned for more than a year.
“We know big crowds will take advantage of our spectacular harbour again this year and we want them to be able to celebrate safely,” he said, in a statement posted on social media. “Sydney is renowned as the world’s premier New Year’s Eve destination so let’s make sure it’s memorable for all the right reasons.”
Partygoers are urged to drink responsibly, and the statement continued: “Both uniform and plain-clothes police will patrol multiple event areas to ensure the safe movement of crowds to vantage points. Members of the public are urged to comply with the directions of police and event staff as they make their way to viewing areas.”
Meanwhile, there will be more barricades in place in Melbourne with several roads expected to be closed in the city centre, following similar security measures on Boxing Day.
“In relation to the CBD itself, we basically lock down the centre of the city,” acting commissioner, Andrew Crisp said recently, according to the Guardian. “People will see additional concrete bollards which will better protect those people that will congregate in the main area of Flinders and Swanston streets.”
It comes after multiple people were hit by a car on Flinders Street in the city earlier this month, leaving 18 people in hospital.
Police urged everyone to enjoy the festivities, but remain careful when drinking and alert to their surroundings.
“People shouldn’t change their plans and should celebrate confident in the knowledge that law enforcement agencies are working harder than ever to ensure their safety and security,” Police Minister Troy Grant told the Daily Telegraph.