BALLARAT police will be out in force on Saturday night as part of a statewide crackdown on anti-social behaviour on Australia Day.
Inspector Bruce Thomas said there would be extra police patrolling the community activities at Lake Wendouree, as January 26 is the worst public holiday nationwide for non-family violence related assaults.
“There will be an increased police presence at the event on Saturday night,” Inspector Thomas said.
“There will be a community-oriented atmosphere and we don’t want a few people ruining the fun of many. We will be clamping down hard on people misbehaving, particularly if they are alcohol-affected.”
Inspector Thomas said people should also modify their drinking behaviour on Australia Day.
“Don’t be stupid about it. Be sensible and don’t make it a drink-fest that spoils the event for everyone else.”
A 16-year-old girl was assaulted at last year’s Lake Wendouree community event, while drunken and anti-social behaviour has also marred previous Ballarat Australia Day celebrations.
Last year, there were 109 assaults reported to police across Australia, with 122 on the same day in 2011.
On average, 115 assaults have been reported to police on Australia Day over the past five years, compared with an average of 70 reports on a typical day for the same period.
Males between 18 and 24 account for a significant number of offenders, with assaults generally carried out in groups later in the day after 5pm.
Extra police will be on patrol across the state, with known trouble areas to be targeted, including the Melbourne CBD, coastal and foreshore areas and locations where organised community celebrations will take place.
Booze bus operations will also run and there will be a crackdown on illegal fireworks.