A STRONG police presence on Mount Panorama has seen record numbers of families camping at the iconic circuit during the Bathurst 1000.
As police launched Operation Vintage yesterday, V8 Supercars chief operating officer Shane Howard was delighted to have more than 35,000 people camping on the Mount.
“We will ensure everyone is going to have a good time,” he said. “Every year it gets better. We’ve got record numbers of campers in and we’ve built extra camp sites.
“We have over 35,000 campers. It is very evident at the top of the Mountain that there is a lot of kids, lots of families and with some great racing it is going to be a fantastic weekend.”
Ever since police increased security at Mount Panorama in 2007, fans have undergone a sharp learning curve about what behaviour is and isn’t allowed.
In 2007, Operation Baraba saw around 50 people arrested in the first two days due to offensive behaviour or people attempting to take banned fireworks or drugs on to Mount Panorama. But three years later Mr Howard was pleased to report an amazing decline in antisocial behaviour.
“Any sport in the world would be proud of what we are delivering here this weekend with our family friendly environment,” he said.
“We have 35,000 people here and no arrests and it all makes for a great atmosphere.
“The families are back, so we could not be happier with the result of the collaboration of council, police and ourselves.”
Once again each adult race enthusiast looking to camp at Mount Panorama will only be allowed 24 cans of full strength beer or an equivalent each day.
Glass will not be permitted to be taken anywhere into the Mount Panorama circuit.
This year around 350 extra police officers including members of the dog squad, bicycle police, mounted police, Police and Citizen Youth Club officers and the Public Order and Riot Squad have boosted the Bathurst ranks.
Operation Vintage commander, Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke, said the number of officers brought in had been reduced from around 500 the year before because the message was getting through to people.
“We are now at about half the resources we started with in 2007 and that has been reduced in conjunction with improved behaviour and less risk associated with the event,” he said.
“We are really pleased with the way the event has evolved. We have seen families return to the mountain and we’ve seen greatly improved crowd behaviour.
“We hope the event will continue to evolve the way it has over the last few years.”
Assistant Commissioner Clarke would not say whether police resources this year included the riot water cannon.