A POLICE crackdown on loutish behaviour over the new year period will be in full force as the south-west prepares to welcome 2014.
Additional police resources will be allocated to Warrnambool, Portland and Port Campbell’s foreshore areas from late afternoon as locals and holidaymakers prepare for the annual countdown.
Senior Sergeant Russell Tharle, of Warrnambool police, said the vast majority of south-west partygoers marking the occasion behaved responsibly. He said police officers will be a visible presence tonight in most south-west cities and towns.
“A command post will be set up, there’ll be foot patrols around the foreshore area, Lake Pertobe and the hotel precinct within the city,” Senior Sergeant Tharle said.
“Like anything, moderation is the key. Being drunk and disorderly or any other anti-social behaviour will be dealt with. On the whole, Warrnambool is a pretty safe place to celebrate New Year’s Eve and the majority of people going out do behave themselves.”
A family-oriented event at Flagstaff Hill tonight is expected to be Warrnambool’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration, although thousands are also expected to cram into the city’s pubs and nightclubs.
Many thousands more are anticipated at the Moyneyana Festival parade in Port Fairy this evening.
Sergeant Ryan Nelson, of Portland police, said December 31 was usually one of the busiest nights for pubs and outdoor activity in the south-west’s harbour city.
Civic celebrations will be staged on the Bentinck Street lawns overlooking Portland harbour with fireworks displays at 10pm and midnight.
“Portland’s one of the few places left in the state where alcohol can be consumed in public areas close to town so police officers will be on patrol around the foreshore area,” Sergeant Nelson said.
“More than 99 per cent of people do the right thing and go out and have a good time. But we will be keeping a close eye on that small percentage that are causing problems.”
Ambulance Victoria operations manager Paul Holman said many injuries acquired on New Year’s Eve were due to simple mistakes such as walking outside barefoot.
“We’re doing everything we can to prepare for a busy night but we also need revellers to do their part,” he said.
“Often, accidents can be prevented. New Year’s celebrations often result in broken glass and other hazards on the ground so make sure you’re wearing shoes.
“Of course we want everyone to have a great night but that also includes taking care of yourself and your friends. Stay away from drugs and if you are drinking alcohol, make sure you have water as well.”