Police turn deaf ear to buskers
POLICE and businesses are opposed to a move to allow amplified busking in the centre of Byron Bay.
In a letter to Byron Shire Council, Tweed-Byron Local Area Command Acting Inspector Doug Conners wrote that ‘the NSW Police Force would object to any amendment to allow amplified busking’ in the town’s CBD.
The letter came after an amendment that would allow buskers to use amplifiers while performing in the streets was discussed and then deferred by the council last month.
It states that police already receive complaints from CBD business owners about buskers and allowing amplification would add to the problem, thereby putting a strain on police resources.
Insp Conners also wrote that ‘allowing busking to that late hour simply encourages intoxicated people to loiter in the streets and this leads to an increased risk of violence, not only among onlookers but also to the buskers themselves’.
He also recommended the council consider rostering compliance officers during the evenings to deal with busking complaints.
The police concerns are shared by Gerry Gleeson, manager of the Byron Motor Lodge.
Mr Gleeson will speak against the amendment at the council’s meeting tomorrow, where the issue will be discussed again.
“Councillor Richardson (who initially put forward the motion) always said the community is for it, which is not true,” Mr Gleeson said.
“The volume and the noise attract a big crowd and you can’t shut the thing down.
“We have lost guests because of it. It is just absurd. We are not going to let it go and we will make an issue of it.”
Previously, Cr Richardson told The Northern Star ‘the buskers are a part of our vibrant street scene’ and the ‘police have always had the ability to tell them to turn the volume down’.
“A lot of buskers use amps to be heard over the traffic,” he said.
If the amendment to the draft busking policy is passed, amplified busking must cease at midnight and it will be permitted around parts of Jonson and Lawson streets and at Apex and Railway parks.