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Rainbow Serpent Festival

Rainbow Serpent Festival

Police out in force at Rainbow Serpent Festival

Victoria Police have warned they will be out in force at the Rainbow Serpent Festival this year in a bid to drive down any illegal activity.

Police said they will have a zero tolerance for any illegal activity and want to ensure a safe event for all.

The event has seen two drug related deaths, a dozen more hospitalisations, and three sexual assaults in recent years.

As part of the operation, additional resources across the Western region and Operations Response Unit will be assisting local police working around clock to keep people safe.

Ballarat Local Area Commander Inspector Dan Davison said police will be out and about to detect and deter behaviour that has marred the festival over the past number of years.

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“Last year we also saw far too many people making dangerous and illegal choices by getting behind the wheel when they were either drug or alcohol affected.

“Every year police deal with serious crimes such as sexual assaults and drug trafficking at this event,” Insp Davison said.

“The presence of drugs at music festivals and similar events and the risks involved in consuming them is always of concern both to police and the community in general.

“Attendees should watch out for their mates to ensure everyone has a safe festival experience."

There were plans for a pill-testing demonstration at the start of the festival this year, but has since been cancelled.

Harm Reduction Australia planned on showcasing the technology and consultation process used by testing a non-illicit substance, but after not receiving support from Victoria Police the demonstration will no longer go ahead.

Insp Davison said it is best if attendees did not take any illicit substances, and anyone caught engaging in illicit activity can expect to be charged and evicted from the event.

“For anyone who is intending to take illicit drugs, we’d simply say don’t do it. Drugs are manufactured by criminals who have no regard for the wellbeing of those taking them," he said

“We will have a highly visible presence aiming to detect and deter any illegal activity."

Extra police patrols will be on-hand targeting anti-social behaviour and foot patrols and Highway Patrol officers will be on hand to assist crowds leaving the event.

The annual festival in Lexton commences on Friday, 25th of January and running until Monday, 28th of January.

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