Police urge saftey over long weekend

Victoria Police will conduct Operation Amity over the long weekend. (Matt Hewson)

Police have called on members of the public to keep each other safe over the long weekend when Geelong hosts two major events.

The city’s population is set to swell, with both the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Festival of Sails held in Greater Geelong this weekend.

As Victoria Police launch Operation Amity statewide, Acting Superintendent Peter Nichols said road safety and public order would be the “really strong focus for us as an organisation”

“This weekend is a big weekend for Geelong; we’re on the international stage with the Cadel Evans bike ride and the Festival of Sails,” Supt Nichols said.

“We’re running Operation Amity over the Australia Day weekend, where we’ll be focused on speeding drivers, drinking and drug-taking drivers.

“We’ll have an increased footprint in relation to our policing response across the whole weekend.”

Supt Nichols said the number of visitors to Geelong, coupled with road closures and diversions due to the cycling event, would lead to trying conditions for motorists.

“We’re going to see an increase in road users, particularly probably on the Sunday afternoon with caravans and camp trailers behind cars,” he said.

“So we just want people to show a bit of patience…a bit of respect to each other, slowing down, making sure you arrive safely at those locations where you intend to go, whether it’s going home or going to some event somewhere across the area.”

Supt Nichols said the behaviour of the general public over long weekends in recent years had been “really positive”, but big events always had “an impact”.

“We’re asking for people to be patient…make sure everyone’s safe and look after each other,” he said.

“We will see an increase around our licensed premises over the weekend. We’ll see a lot of focus down along the foreshore of Geelong. It’s just about enjoying yourself, but enjoying yourself safely.”

He said local police would be supported across the weekend, with the State Highway Patrol in the area and “the availability of extra resources from Melbourne” should they be required.