Police have declared the security operation surrounding the Repco World Rally Championships in northern NSW a success, with the vast majority of people doing the right thing.
The aim of ‘Operation Palisade’ was to ensure that all racegoers, competitors and rally employees could enjoy the rally in a safe and secure environment.
‘Operation Palisade’, which commenced on Thursday 3 September and concluded at midnight yesterday (Sunday 6 September), comprised general duties police from the Northern Region, as well as officers from the Public Order and Riot Squad (PORS), Operational Support Group (OSG), Police Airwing, Dog Unit and Traffic Services Branch.
Commander of Operation ‘Palisade’, Superintendent Michael Kenny, praised racegoers for their positive and enthusiastic support of this event and their overall behaviour.
“I have spoken to many visitors and local residents who were buzzing with rally fever over the past few days, with the crowds at spectator points well exceeding the organisers’ expectations and that’s been great,” Superintendent Kenny said.
“The policing operation has been a massive success and has received overwhelming support from the event organisers and the vast majority of racegoers who’ve welcomed the increased presence of police on the ground.
“Throughout the race weekend many officers were approached by fans and families alike who conveyed their appreciation for the safety and security that police provided during the event.
“I believe the large crowd and the low number of arrests demonstrates that the operation has been successful in ensuring a safe and secure sporting spectacle.”
Superintendent Kenny said the rally offered something new and exciting to this region, however, it did bring with it challenges for the police operation and the event organisers with a small minority of people opposing this event.
“Police successfully weeded out a small number of potential troublemakers who stood on roadways or generally caused trouble inside the racing precinct. They were removed for their own safety and for that of the competitors,” Superintendent Kenny said.
“The actions of those protestors who thew rocks at passing rally cars were irresponsible, dangerous and criminal. The actions of these people are no different to those who have caused injury and death to motorists on the roads of NSW in recent times.
“These incidents are being investigated and the people responsible will be prosecuted.”
Charges have been laid for offences including offensive conduct, malicious damage, drink driving and dangerous driving. Traffic infringement notices for speeding and other traffic breaches have been issued by Highway Patrol officers, and one vehicle has been confiscated for a burnout offence.
Police said thousands of motorsport enthusiasts will have begun their trek home from Northern NSW following the conclusion of the race yesterday, with fond memories of an exciting event held during wonderful conditions in the picturesque north of NSW.