AUTHORITIES have praised Supercars spectators for their “exceptional” behaviour at the inaugural Newcastle 500 and even admitted to being surprised at having to make only a handful of arrests during one of the biggest police crackdowns in the city’s history.
Northern Region commander Assistant Commissioner Max Mitchell was speaking after the end of Operation Boote, which has been in planning since the Supercars race was announced last year, drawing dozens of police from across the state for the three-day event, which organisers said was attended by 190,000 people.
“It was an exceptional outcome,” Assistant Commissioner Mitchell told reporters on Monday.
“From a policing perspective, to think we’ve had over 190,000 people come into the precinct – yes, we had four incidents – but four incidents over three days with that amount of people coming into the city is still very, very pleasing.
“Having walked the ground, going out amongst the crowd myself with senior police, the crowd was exceptional.
“Can I congratulate everyone who came to this event for the way they behaved. It was very festive, it was very engaging. I thought it was absolutely outstanding.”
Police arrested four people after scuffles on King Street, Shortland Esplanade and at the Cold Chisel concert.
Four arrests over crackdown
Richard Campbell Crosskill, 33, of Clovelly, fronted Newcastle Local Court on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault and and resist police, after being arrested on Shortland Esplanade for allegedly striking a security guard who refused him access to the residents-only zone on Sunday.
The court heard that as Mr Crosskill was being released from Newcastle police station, he threw his paperwork backwards, hitting a police officer in the face. His bail was subsequently revoked.
However, Mr Crosskill was granted bail in court on Monday with a condition he not drink alcohol at a licensed premises in Newcastle.
Meanwhile, another man and woman, both 35, will appear in court next month charged with affray over the King Street incident. The Cold Chisel assault was still under investigation.
Highway patrol officers conducted more than 5000 breath tests and charged 13 people with drink-driving. Nearly 300 speeding tickets were issued over the three-day crackdown.
In another incident, a 22-year-old who was allegedly driving a stolen motorbike was arrested after a police chase at Shortland.
Police began the alleged pursuit after he was detected driving 157km/h in a 90km/h zone on Main Road.
That man was charged with multiple offences.
Mr Mitchell said police were also disappointed by an egg throwing incident in Newcastle’s East End on Sunday.
The Newcastle Herald reported police were called to a unit on Parnell Place in the East End on Sunday.
“That could have resulted in a serious motor vehicle collision, even death or serious injury to a driver,” Mr Mitchell said. “Absolutely ridiculous behavior and if anyone has any information that could support police inquiries I would encourage them to bring it forward.”
He added that he was pleased with the vast majority of residents: “I think, overall, from a resident point of view and a patron's point of view, everything went exceptionally well.”
Police and transport officials will review the three-day event with a focus on improving the arrival and departure of spectators.
Authorities have also flagged the need for more police officers for concerts at Foreshore Park.