INSPECTOR GREG JAGO: Police were still attending brawls at 6.30 in the morning, which was “totally inappropriate’’.
INSPECTOR GREG JAGO: Police were still attending brawls at 6.30 in the morning, which was “totally inappropriate’’.

Byron police outgunned

IF THERE had been more police in Byron Bay on New Year's Eve there would have been many more than 20 charges laid and 14 people arrested, according to Inspector Greg Jago of Tweed-Byron Local Area Command.

The senior police officer's comments come as the Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said too many New Year's revellers had shown no respect and had trashed Byron Bay.

He said it was vital a strategic approach to the celebration was developed.

"It is perhaps time to reconsider what we as a community want to provide on this night. Personally, I think finishing up at 9.30pm should be considered. We can provide family friendly entertainment, have better quality fireworks and finish well before 12 midnight," he said.

"Word will quickly get out that the Byron New Year's Eve theme park is no longer open for business and the extra visitors, unable to be absorbed this year, will diminish.

"Clearly, most of the people in town in Byron Bay had a wonderful experience and treated themselves, others and the town relatively respectfully."

Byron United president Paul Waters said New Year's Eve this year was successful with only a few people getting out of hand. "The idea of trying to shut down New Year's Eve is ridiculous," he said.

However, Insp Jago said the number of arrests were not indicative of the amount of violence but the police resources available to deal with it.

He said there were way too many fights fuelled by excessive amounts of alcohol, with large numbers visiting from outside Byron Bay.

"Police were still attending brawls at 6.30 in the morning, which is totally inappropriate," he said.

"There were 15,000 people there on the night. Had we had more police we would have taken more action."

About 15.5 tonnes of waste was removed from Byron beaches, parks and streets over two days by 32 council staff.



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