1 January 2023

City revellers give ACT police a rocky start to the new year

| Kim Treasure
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fireworks in the city

Police were disappointed by crowd behaviour in the city on New Year’s Eve. Photo: File.

ACT Police say they have been disappointed by the behaviour of crowds in Canberra City following last night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Across the evening, 23 people were taken to the ACT Watch House due to intoxication, while police issued 26 exclusion directions for violent conduct.

Two young people were also taken into custody for alcohol possession, and later returned to the custody of their parents.

Police also conducted 310 roadside breath tests which identified four instances of drink driving, with one driver returning a breath analysis of 0.141.

ACT Policing Detective Acting Inspector Shane Mundie said the behaviour in Civic was a poor way to begin 2023.

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“Police are disappointed with the high number of extremely intoxicated members of the community we observed last night, particularly those who were unable to look after themselves,” Detective Acting Inspector Mundie said.

“ACT Policing officers, as well as members of the ACT Ambulance Service and the Sobering Up Shelter, were at capacity managing the welfare of intoxicated people.

“General crowd behaviour in the city was poor, with police responding to numerous fights and incidents of alcohol-related violence resulting in injuries.

“I understand the past few years with the pandemic have meant New Year’s Eve celebrations may have been quieter than most, but what police saw last night was concerning.

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“There will be some people waking up this morning feeling very sore and sorry for themselves, and some will be facing a court date to answer criminal charges.”

Earlier in the evening, police were on hand patrolling within the vicinity of Lake Burley Griffin, where an estimated 30,000 people gathered for the 9 pm fireworks. The number attending the midnight display was far less.

While a number of young people were spoken to regarding underage drinking – police are making inquiries regarding possible further action – no arrests were made, and the lakeside crowd was generally well behaved.

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