Next month's Southern 80 ski-race will see a co-ordinated strategy and police presence from both sides of the border.By Kathleen Tonini
Police on both sides of the border have started planning for the Southern 80 ski-race next month.
The event, which sees tens of thousands of people converge on the twin towns, demands significant resources and planning.
Last year police on both sides of the river breath-tested about 9000 motorists and boat operators over the Southern 80 weekend.
Senior management from the Deniliquin local area command and from Echuca met at the Moama police station last week to discuss strategy.
NSW police Inspector Peter Hayes said police wanted a more co-ordinated response than last year.
‘‘This is one of the first years we’ve sat down together and worked out what we’re going to do and what they’re (Victoria Police) going to do,’’ he said.
Insp. Hayes said police wanted to ensure random breath-testing times did not overlap and discussed special constable powers for the events.
This gives police the power to operate on both sides of the border if necessary.
Both Moama and Echuca police already have this power, but other police officers who will come in from elsewhere, will need to have those powers for the event.
Campaspe police inspector Martin Dorman said meeting earlier to coordinate responses would mean more efficient policing of the event.
He said his officers would have their ranks boosted significantly to deal with the event.
The Public Order Response Unit would be there, as well as the dog squad, a booze bus from Bendigo and highway patrol units from other part of the state.
Plain clothes officers will also patrol Echuca and surrounding bushland area, he said.
Insp. Dorman said there would be well in excess of 120 police officers policing the event on both sides of the river.
He said Victorian operations concentrated on behaviour and road safety, while NSW also had to deal with emergency management of the race itself.
‘‘We will be taking very low tolerance to misbehaviour in Echuca, in particular in around licensed premises,’’ Insp. Dorman said.
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