Police issue warning for Mardi Grass
HEADING to Nimbin next weekend for the big Mardi Grass? Have a great time, say the police, but leave the stash at home.
The Richmond Local Area police Commander, Superintendent Bruce Lyons, insists his men and woman are not out to ruin the weekend for anyone.
"The festival has become a big event for Nimbin," he says. "Most people go there to enjoy the spectacle and take part in a great weekend rather than be part of the political statement about cannabis. Nimbin is a unique town and we want only to make sure people, especially families, get to enjoy it safely."
But Superintendent Lyons pointed out that last year someone died during the Mardi Grass because of drugs, so he and his officers will be visible and a deterrent to street-level dealers who believe the festival is a chance to make some big money.
"It's offensive to go to Nimbin and be pestered in the street to buy drugs," he said.
"The community expects us (the police) to do something about it, and we are."
And not just for Mardi Grass weekend. Superintendent Lyons announced exclusively to The Northern Star that he was planning to increase the permanent police numbers at Nimbin from four officers to nine in the coming months.
"I'm looking for experienced police who can become part of the community, sensitive to the community needs and able to take part in positive community projects," he said.
"There appears to be a lot of unreported crime in Nimbin. The increased numbers and the greater involvement by these officers in the community will hopefully encourage local people to come forward and report crimes."
Superintendent Lyons has, for the first time, also spelled out in great detail what drug dealers and heavy drug users can expect from the police in and around Nimbin next weekend.
The goal, according to Superintendent Lyons, is to keep them away from the festival and take away their hopes of making big money.
"Contrary to some reports that police 'turn a blind eye' to cannabis use, any illegal activity, drug-related or otherwise, will not be tolerated," Superintendent Lyons said.
He reminded festival goers there will not be and has never been any exemption from NSW drug laws in the Nimbin area. "We will target all illegal activities, from traffic offences, violence and anti-social behaviour through to the supply and possession of all illicit drugs," he said.