Top cop blasts Byron
By ZOE SATHERLEY
'THIS shouldn't be happening in Byron' is an expression Inspector Ian Fitzsimmons often hears when he attends yet another violent assault in town.
"People think of the place in terms of peace and love, but at the moment it's anything but that," said the top police officer who feels it is about time the town cleaned up its act.
"We are getting up to five assaults a night and fear this will just get worse as summer approaches and the population swells with tourists and day trippers."
Insp Fitzsimmons said he wanted to work in conjunction with licensed premises to make the town safer.
"At the moment when the pubs and clubs close at 3am you can have 200 or 300 intoxicated people out on the street all at once," he said.
"Tempers flare and fights break out. It's a nightmare.
"There has got to be a better way. At places like Wagga and Orange the licensed premises operate differently and it's much safer.
"They stay open for 24hour trading but close their doors to new customers at 1am.
"If you are in before 1am, you can stay until dawn. In that way patrons leave at staggered times throughout the night and you don't get the build-up of trouble.
"Possibly something similar would work here."
Insp Fitzsimmons said he understood the financial concerns of the all-night bakeries, pizza and burger bars which make a lot of money from the night trade.
"But we all have to work together to do something positive to address the rising inci- dence of crime," he said.