Police say the time for education and warning about COVID-19 is over as officers kick off their summer safety campaign.
NSW Police have launched the first phase of Operation Summer Safe, which will be in place for the current school holidays and the following summer months.
The high-visibility operation will focus on policing licensed premises, public spaces and entertainment precincts in an effort to decrease anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related violence, whilst ensuring adherence to Public Health Orders.
"We're very concerned about alcohol-fueled violence and antisocial behaviour right across the Northern Region particularly during the warmer months," Northern Region commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell said.
"We know when we look at historical evidence this is always a problem."
Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said extra police would be deployed to coastal areas as holiday makers head to the water to enjoy the warm weather.
Despite Schoolies being cancelled, Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said Byron Bay was still fully booked out and also mentioned Port Stephens as a Hunter hot spot that was expected to see an influx of tourists.
He acknowledged there "still remains a lot of anxiety" in some coastal areas with people travelling from Sydney for the holiday period.
While he praised the Hunter for its COVID-19 response so far, Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said now wasn't the time for complacence and warned that officers would take action against those who don't comply.
"The time for ongoing education and warning is pretty well over," he said.
"Yes certainly I expect my officers to do a professional job and to ensure that they make the appropriate inquiries first and foremost.
"But where we see ignorance, where we see disrespect to others there's no other way of moving forward other than to breach those individuals.
"There's been plenty of messaging, everyone knows and understands COVID, the risks associated with it. So if you breach the health regulations we'll be there to enforce and ensure compliance."
Assistant Commissioner Mitchell said police would work with local councils, businesses, lifeguards and other emergency services to ensure safety and compliance.
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