Richmond Local Area Commander Superintendent Bruce Lyons says the police presence in the Nimbin for the annual MardiGrass festival over the weekend was appropriate for the increased crowds.

“We were determined to provide a safe environment for everyone visiting the town,” Supt Lyons said.

“While walking through the crowds I was approached by numerous people praising police for their effort.

“They didn’t feel intimidated or fearful of the police.

“The level of violence was dramatically reduced, with only two assaults reported to police, and we are investigating those incidents.

“Aside from the drug detection operation, we also ran traffic operations to maintain safety on our roads, which were being travelled by thousands of people.

“While one person died, and three people were detected driving after drinking, overwhelmingly the roads were safe.

“It was a deliberate decision to emphasise high-visibility policing throughout the festival and we were able to call on the resources from around the Northern Region and city-based units.

“This is part of a long-term strategy for Nimbin and we are pleased the weekend celebrations ran smoothly and without any major incidents.”

Police have charged or issued cannabis cautions to 85 people during the festival.

Operation Brewarrana comprised several initiatives including stationary random breath-testing, drug dogs, and roadside drug-testing, as well as on-going high-visibility policing throughout the town.

Officers from Northern Region – including general duties, OSG (Operational Support Group), Highway Patrol, and Detectives – were joined by police from Sydney-based units, including the Dog Unit, the Mounted Police and the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), to patrol the Nimbin township and surrounds for the festival.

In addition to the 85 drug detections, two people were charged with supply a prohibited drug, three were charged with having goods in custody suspected of being stolen, and five people were charged with PCA offences.

In the past week police have seized more than 50kg cannabis as well as substances believed to be amphetamines, ecstasy, and LSD.

On Friday police executed a search warrant on Basil Road, Nimbin, in which two hydroponic cannabis-growing units were located. Police seized 1.4kg of cannabis leaf. Further investigations are continuing.

A drug-dog operation located outside the township conducted 54 person searches resulting in 42 detections mainly for cannabis, with a small amount of amphetamines and ecstasy located.

Of those, 38 of the alleged offenders were given cannabis cautions and four were issued with a field court attendance notice.

Officers also conducted more than 2500 RBTs with eight drivers being charged with PCA offences.

Hundreds of people were warned for breaching alcohol-free zones within the town of Nimbin.

A large quantity of alcohol was confiscated and disposed of.