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Police launch Operation WorldPride 2023 for safe celebrations

Thursday, 16 February 2023 09:32:04 AM

The NSW Police Force has launched a high-visibility operation to ensure safe celebrations for thousands of local, national, and international visitors for the Sydney WorldPride 2023 festival.

Operation WorldPride 2023 commences tomorrow (Friday 17 February 2023) and will be in place throughout the 17-day festival, which will see Sydney lit-up in colour with 12 signature events and more than 300 community-based events across the state.

Amidst the celebrations, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade will return to Oxford Street on Saturday 25 February 2023, for the first time since pre-pandemic.

Operation WorldPride 2023 Commander, Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke, said police are proud to support to support our LGBTIQ+ communities on the international stage.

“The NSW Police Force is excited to welcome visitors to Sydney – in particular all those coming together to enjoy Sydney WorldPride 2023 – and celebrate our global LGBTIQ+ communities,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

"The NSW Police Force team has put in months of work in conjunction with event organisers and our LGBTIQ+ communities planning and developing our operation to ensure all can enjoy events safely," Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

During the operation, general duties officers will be assisted by specialist units, including the Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Mounted Unit, Dog Unit, PolAir, Licensing Police, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Police Transport Command.

"Among those officers will be our LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officers – GLLOs – to help ensure that people are able to enjoy events and experience all that Sydney has to offer safely.

“You'll be able to identify our LGBTIQ+ Liaison Officers by their bright yellow sleeve and rainbow GLLO badge, but if you need assistance at any time, any NSW Police officer will be happy to help you,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

With an increase in crowds expected to be moving about the Sydney CBD and surrounding suburbs during the festival, Assistant Commissioner Cooke said police will be focused on maintaining public safety and security.

“We want everyone – festival goers and the broader community – to get around safely, so we are urging those attending and supporting the events to plan your trips ahead of time; know how you are getting into the city and how you’re getting home,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

There will be a number of road closures and special event clearways at various times throughout the festival, which will impact areas in and around Sydney CBD, North Sydney, Pyrmont, Eastern Suburbs, and some foreshore areas, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Motorists are advised to expect delays and check special event traffic information, including live traffic reports by visiting: www.livetraffic.com.

The community is encouraged to leave their car at home and use public transport, particularly during key festival events.

Access the ‘Trip Planner’ application and check the latest timetable and ticketing information for trains, buses, ferries and taxi ranks via www.transportnsw.info.

“We also anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic in the CBD throughout the festival, so those who must drive or ride are urged to slow down and take extra care. If you plan on drinking, have a Plan B and know how you are getting home. Do not drink and drive,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“We encourage all those attending events to do their part to ensure that it is a safe and enjoyable festival for not only for our LGBTIQ+ communities but our local community as well.

“With significant events held across the Sydney CBD, we ask for your patience and tolerance of the inevitable disruptions. We will be working hard with the other stakeholders to minimise them as much as possible.

“We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy the festival in a safe and secure way so there will be a number of measures across the city to ensure this, including alcohol-free zones.”

Several alcohol-free zones will be active across the festival footprint and alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited within these areas. Police will confiscate and dispose of alcohol that has been or is likely to be consumed in a public place.

For further information on alcohol-free zones, visit the City of Sydney website: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

“The community should be aware that we will have licensing police in and around key licensed events and venues to target alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“We aren’t trying to stop people from having a good time; it’s about looking out for yourself, your family, and your friends.

“Alcohol impairs your judgment and affects your ability to assess risks, make decisions and behave responsibly.”

Assistant Commissioner Cooke reminded people that police will target anyone who is attending the festival for the wrong reasons, including those supplying illicit drugs, as well as anyone engaged in alcohol-related crime or anti-social behaviour.

“Police will act in a fair but firm manner to ensure everyone has a good time but not at the expense of other people’s safety,” Assistant Commissioner Cooke said.

“Most of all, we encourage everyone attending events to enjoy themselves responsibly and look after each other.”

Visit the official Sydney WorldPride 2023 website for more event specific information: https://sydneyworldpride.com/