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Police urge respect on solemn day

RESPECT: Newcastle City police Acting Superintendent Michael Gorman urges revellers to be respectful on Anzac Day. Picture: Jessica HromasRELATED: HunterAnzac Day services guide

SENIOR police say Anzac Day is about “remembrance and celebrating the great country we live in” and not “getting on the turps and belting your mates”.

An army of extra officers will be deployed across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie to quell any unruly behaviour that sometimes threatens to spoil the solemn occasion in party precincts.

Also high on the police agenda is preparing against the threat of terrorism even though there is no intelligence to suggest there arespecific threats to Hunter tributes.

Lake Macquarie police Superintendent Danny Sullivan said hehad “hoped for the best and prepared for the worst”.

Lake Macquarie RSL sub-branches were informed of police expectations in February in a meeting where security matterssuch as street closures and traffic plans were discussed.

At least two services have moved.

Boolooroo Speers Point RSL sub-branch president Lyle Dalton said he was “a bit annoyed” and viewed it as “pretty bloody sad” the tribute traditionally held at Speers Point Cenotaph on The Esplanade had been moved to the enclosed Speers Point Park.

Mr Dalton said the decision to move was made by the sub-branch but it came following advice.

“The reaction in the community has not been positive,” he said.

Lake Macquarie council this year gave grants of up to $5000 to sub-branches to help meet the costs of added security.

Sub-branches say they have prepared their own traffic management plans, hired stop-go traffic controllers and garbage trucks from the council to guard against hostile vehicles.

Superintendent Sullivan said added security arrangements were “not new” and had been implemented across the state for crowded places.

“It’s about keeping the day solemn but safe,” he said. “The bigger picture is that the threat is high and, as we’ve seen from overseas, we can’t take any chances. What price can you put on safety?”

He added police would not tolerate alcohol-fuelled violence.

“Anzac Day is not about getting on the turps and belting your mates,” he said.

Newcastle City police Acting Superintendent Michael Gorman said Anzac Day was “a day of remembrance and celebrating the great country we live in”.

“It’s also about being considerate and not so intoxicated that you ruin the day for other people,” he said. “If you want to behave that way, you will be taken back to the station and will have to explain your actions to a magistrate.”

Police urged revellers to use the council’s park and ride facilities if heading to the Nobbys dawn service.

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