Police primed for Australia Day long weekend

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 As many Victorians prepare to unwind with family and friends for the Australia Day long weekend, Victoria Police is preparing to field a highly-visible police presence at community events across the state.

With many events on across Melbourne and regional Victoria over the long weekend, police are encouraging Victorians and visitors to get out and enjoy the festivities on offer.

Acting Commander Darren Franks said police would be out and about at all major events and popular community locations such as beaches and parks to ensure a safe and relaxing three days.

“No matter where you are, you are likely to notice a highly-visible police presence on our streets, roads, public transport and popular community destinations,” Mr Franks said.

“From the shores to the suburbs and the CBD, we’ll be there. This isn’t anything to be concerned about, police are there to keep you safe and we hope our presence makes you comfortable as you celebrate the long weekend.”

Police are calling on people to reflect on their own behaviour and how any anti-social or criminal behaviour could impact the wider community.

“This includes drinking in moderation,” Mr Franks said. “Police will be closely monitoring the responsible service of alcohol at licensed venues and events but it’s up to everyone to think about their own responsible consumption of alcohol.”

“Too often police see the negative impact that over-supply and excessive consumption of alcohol has including the devastating consequences of street assaults, road trauma and family violence.

“If you come into the CBD or attend any community events across the state looking to cause trouble, don’t bother; you will be arrested and held to account if you break the law.”

With many Victorians either leasing out their properties or booking a short-term rental for the long weekend, police also want to issue a firm but fair warning about their expectations.

“Anyone who plans on causing trouble or breaking the law in rented short-stay properties, including hosting or attending disruptive parties that can lead to significant property damage or other crime, expect a swift and firm response from police,” Mr Franks said.

Victoria Police has teamed up with Airbnb to issue safety advice to Victorian hosts, their guests and the community this summer.

Some of their top tips include:

– Get to know your short-term rental guest or host and set clear expectations in advance of a booking

– Always be respectful of neighbours and the community

– Ensure your contact details registered with your provider are accurate and up-to-date

– If anything isn’t right, reach out to your service provider immediately. Airbnb’s 24/7 Customer Service and Trust and Safety teams can be contacted via their website, Facebook or Twitter.

– In an emergency or if you feel unsafe, always call 000.

“This collaboration with Airbnb as a leading short-term rental provider is about ensuring people are equipped with the information they need to have a safe experience,” Mr Franks said.

“For home owners leasing out your property over summer, police strongly encourage you to have an active oversight of all bookings. If you have any suspicions about a booking, contact your service provider such as Airbnb as soon as possible.

“If you have planned a small gathering at your short-term rental, do not advertise it on social media and plan for how you will respond to uninvited guests. Also ensure that a number of responsible adults stay sober and act as decision makers should any issues arise.

“In the case of an emergency, or if you feel unsafe or have concerns that a situation may be escalating, call Triple Zero (000) so the nearest police unit can attend.”

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