ACT Policing has praised the Canberra community for its well-behaved welcome to the New Year last night, with not one arrest reported.
Crowds were significantly down on past years, with only an estimated 5000 people lining the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to watch the fireworks.
Detective Inspector Simon Coady from ACT Policing said that up to 30,000 people normally lined the lake on New Year’s Eve, but he attributed the smaller crowd to people opting to be COVID-19 safe.
“ACT Policing is very grateful for what was quite a well-behaved crowd for the New Year festivities,” he said.
“It was nice to see a lot of families coming out, even though the COVID environment has been challenging and left people feeling a bit cautious and wanting to stay at home.
“It was also encouraging to see people take the COVID environment seriously, but it was equally nice to see families out enjoying the fireworks.”
Detective Inspector Coady said it was a definitely more subdued environment than previous New Year’s celebrations.
“The smaller numbers worked quite well as it allowed families to share space on both sides of the lake and find some of the best vantage sites to enjoy the show.”
Despite no arrests, Detective Inspector Coady said there were a couple of instances of underage drinking last night.
“Those people were returned to the care of their families,” he said. “But overall, the behaviour was fantastic.”
He said police preparations for events like New Year’s Eve were made well in advance. This year, he said, because of the smaller crowds, police were able to engage more with the community who were there and provide a highly-visible presence.
“We were very grateful for all the community support and that everyone who attended was social distancing, practising good hygiene and being very COVID-aware.
“We’re all very excited to see the end of 2021 and look forward to 2022.
“As people grow in confidence and we start to come out of our shells a little more in this new year, we’ll see a bit more excitement and maybe an increase in people’s participation in these things.”