Drones will be used to track crowd numbers in real time under a bolstered police presence across the region on grand final day.

Hundreds of police will be deployed to Geelong's streets on Saturday amid fears of large gatherings in the CBD if the Cats win the AFL 2020 premiership.

Enforcement squads of officers will be deployed across the region, including along suburban streets, to monitor and break up illegal grand final parties.

Superintendent Craig Gillard said police would not hesitate to move people on or issue fines to those caught flouting coronavirus restrictions.

A drone fleet will be out in force in Geelong on grand final day. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
A drone fleet will be out in force in Geelong on grand final day. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

"We recognise that many people like to be out celebrating the grand final," Superintendent Gillard said.

"But it's important to know that if we are choosing to celebrate we must adhere to the directions of the Chief Health Officer.

"From a policing perspective, we are here to support the community celebrate - but not at the risk of compromising all the hard work that has been done to suppress the spread of coronavirus."

Under coronavirus restrictions Geelong residents will be allowed to gather outside in groups of 10 from a maximum of four households.

Friends can also gather in groups of 10 at restaurants and pubs provided they have a booking and remain seated.

But, ecstatic football fans are often hard to control after a premiership win.

In 2007, thousands of Geelong fans packed Ryrie Street for an impromptu party, while Richmond fans flooded Swan Street when the team broke its near 40-year premiership drought in 2017.

Superintendent Gillard said Saturday's grand final was unlike any other and pleaded with fans to stay safe.

"We will respond very quickly to any anti-social behaviour. We are very, very near the end and we just need to see it out and do so within the CHO restrictions," Superintendent Gillard said.

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Geelong officers will be backed up by the air wing, mounted police branch, members of the public order response team and public transport transit officers.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornerlius said police did not want grand final weekend to become a superspreader event and urged people not to breach orders by having large gatherings at their homes.

"We know from health advice that there is a 20 times increased likelihood of spreading the virus when people get together in their homes," Mr Cornerlius said.

As well as enforcing the CHO orders police will also seek to suppress alcohol fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour.

City of Greater Geelong chief executive officer Martin Cutter said council had offered its full support to police.

"It's important everyone adheres to the current restrictions on gatherings and household visitors while watching the Geelong Cats, and for any celebrations," Mr Cutter said.

"While we would be thrilled to see the Cats win this weekend, we encourage everyone to celebrate safely and avoid gathering in large crowds."

No changes have been made to bylaws regarding drinking alcohol in public meaning residents can consume alcohol in public spaces, unless otherwise signposted, between sunrise and sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Police watching grand final revelry from every angle


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