SENIOR police have praised festival-goers who appear to be behaving well five days into the big 2013 event.
With the first weekend over, additional police are expected to arrive in the city later this week as part of the 250-strong presence rostered on during the 10-day Tamworth Country Music Festival.
Yesterday Inspector Jeff Budd said festival behaviour had been better than good so far and the large number of police on the country music beat provided additional security for a festival party long promoted as family-friendly.
Inspector Budd said the majority of police imported for the festival were country officers, with about 30 from metropolitan commands.
Police said earlier in the week that locals made up the majority of those picked up by officers at the weekend.
Inspector Budd said the men and women in blue had been dealing mainly with anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents but they had been cleared up swiftly.
“Apart from those who have crossed the line, the operation is going reasonably smoothly,” he said.
“This weekend will be the same as last weekend – we’re prepared for the numbers and the people coming in.
“We’re right to go and we’re urging people to behave and have fun.
“The licensed premises are doing a good job and we have new police arriving this week in the final stage of the festival for us.
“Visiting police who have since left here have been really happy with the entire experience. They’ve done some good work, met some nice people and thoroughly enjoyed their time.
“Some have said they even wish they were working here.”
Out on the roads, police have on average nabbed one drink-driver a day since the event began.
They’re only preliminary figures so far but they’ve given highway patrol officers some satisfaction and police are pretty happy with the behaviour of the majority of motorists.
So far, five drink-drivers have been charged.
The latest was a 34-year-old man stopped on the Oxley Highway near Somerton.
His breath analysis at Tamworth Police Station allegedly returned a reading of 0.170, more than three times the legal limit.
Further inquiries revealed the man’s licence had previously been cancelled and he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant.
He was charged with high-range drink driving and by virtue of the outstanding warrant refused bail by police before appearing in a Tamworth court yesterday.
Highway patrol sergeant Brett Davies said two of the five offences were in Gunnedah.
The other three were in the Tamworth area.
“We know there is still going to be people who drink-drive out there and we’re still catching them, so that’s a good thing,” he said.
“The message here for everyone is there’s a bus system running right through the town and people need to use it.
“While the detections are disappointing, the number of them is low and we hope it stays low.
“If we come in at 10 by the end of the festival, I think the majority of the driving population has done a good job.”
Sergeant Davies said extra patrol cars were rostered on for the final and traditionally the busiest weekend of the country music festival.
He said further cars had been tasked outside the festival operation along the region’s main thoroughfares.
“In terms of the operation traffic-wise, yes, we’re happy,” Sergeant Davies said.
“We’ll always have the little issues, and we expect that, the festival is big enough to know that’s going to happen.
“People make some minor mistakes but when people blatantly disregard the drink-driving laws, traffic legislation and signage, then we’ll deal with them how they should be dealt with.”