ON THE BEAT: From NSW Police Mounted Unit Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North.
ON THE BEAT: From NSW Police Mounted Unit Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North. Marc Stapelberg

Horses help crush crime after 'bad batch' of drugs hits town

DRUG and alcohol issues are high on the radar for police taking part in a lengthy operation in Byron Bay.

Tweed Byron Police District crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Brendon Cullen said Operation Tasman North, running until June, had brought in officers from the operational support and licencing branches of NSW Police and other parts of the command along with NSW Police horses Ismo and Sovereign and their riders, Senior Constables Michelle Cherry and Sarah Maxwell.

 

From NSW Police Mounted Unit  Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North.
From NSW Police Mounted Unit Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North. Marc Stapelberg

After a spate of drug-related incidents in the town during the summer months, Det Insp Cullen hoped an increased police presence would help to keep the region safer.

"Last December and January we had a number of people who appeared to be suffering the affects of a drug-induced psychosis on the streets," Det Insp Cullen said.

 

From NSW Police Mounted Unit  Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North.
From NSW Police Mounted Unit Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North. Marc Stapelberg

Officers witnessed irrational, confrontational and violent behaviour from offenders exhibiting "superhuman strength" during this time.

Often, it was difficult for police to restrain them and sometimes, officers were hurt in the process.

Insp Cullen said police believed a "bad batch" of drugs, possibly LSD, was circulating at the time.

"There have been three arrests with significant quantities of LSD tabs on the person who have been arrested," he said.

"We want to make sure that these people are not interfering with the good environment we have at Byron Bay."

 

From NSW Police Mounted Unit  Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North.
From NSW Police Mounted Unit Senior Constable Michelle Cherry riding Ismo, and Senior Constable Sarah Maxwell riding Sovereign in Byron Bay as part of Operation Tasman North. Marc Stapelberg

He hoped Operation Tasman North, which began in February, would help to encourage safer behaviour in Byron Bay while fostering a positive relationship between police and the community.

"People love to engage with the horses and they are seeing that we are present in the area and they're very effective at managing crowd and the numbers of people that we get in the town here," he said.

Det Insp Cullen said police were also looking forward to working closely with the Byron Bay Liquor Accord as they continue to target alcohol-fuelled violence in the town.



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