Police call for NYE revellers to show restraint

NEW YEAR’S EVE: Police have warned that antisocial and drunken behaviour won’t be tolerated.About 60 officers from Central Hunter local area command will be on duty across Maitland and Cessnock tonight to help revellers enjoy their New Year’s Eve celebrations safely.

Police encouraged partygoers to enjoy themselves, but also warned that antisocial behaviour would not be ­tolerated.

In Maitland, festivities will ­culminate at 9pm with a fireworksdisplay on the Hunter River.

Visitors to the river front will be ­permitted to take small amounts of alcohol into the precinct and the ­alcohol-free zone will be reinstated and enforced from 9.30pm.

A council spokeswoman said there was no defined acceptable amount of alcohol, but encouraged people to drink responsibly in what had been set up as a family environment.

Outside the precinct, the ­alcohol-free zone will remain in force.

Duty officer Inspector Brian Tracey, who co-­ordinated the command’s New Year’s Eve operations, said police wanted visitors to the area to behave responsibly.

“As always, police will be there to ensure the safety of all patrons so they can enjoy the festivities,” he said.

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“We want people to drink in moderation, to know their limits and have a great time with their family and friends, rather than drinking to excess and ending up in a bad way.

“We will be out in force only to ensure everyone has a great time on New Year’s Eve and enjoys the fireworks.”

Inspector Tracey said police would work with security officers and council personnel as well as SES boats patrolling the river and an increased number of paramedics.

“Any people within the area of the Hunter River should feel free to come and speak to police if they have any concerns,” he said.

The celebrations will start at 5.30pm with family-friendly activities including face painting, balloon sculpting, a giant slide, tea cups, a bungee trampoline, rock climbing wall and extreme bounce jumping castle.

A children’s disco will kick off at 6pm.

St Andrews Street between High Street and the riverbank, Riverside Car Park and Stillsbury Lane will be closed until 9am Thursday.

The eastbound lane of High Street from Belmore Road to just west of Church Street and the westbound lane of High Street west of Church Street to Little Hunter Street will be closed until midnight.

The car park underneath Kmart in the Hunter Mall will close at 7pm tonight.

Maitland City Council encouraged drivers to park in the car park on Ken Tubman Drive.

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