Police slam drug-driving car crashes

DANGEROUS: Police are concerned about post-festival driving following crashes on Tuesday. This rollover in Miners Rest is being investigated. Picture: Lachlan Bence.Ballarat’s top cop is calling for major changes at the Rainbow Serpent Music and Arts Festival after a string of illegal activity including drug trafficking, assaults, two reported rapesand a fatality.
Nanjing Night Net

A 22-year-old Kensington man was unable to be revived after going into cardiac arrest on Saturday night.

Police drug tested drivers after the festival and recorded more than 30 positive tests as of 2pm Tuesday, equating to one positive driver every six tests.

One drink driver was also recorded.

Superintendent Andrew Allen said Victoria Police had increased its presence at the festival year-on-year in response to the nature and frequency of crime.

“Why is it that we’re expecting to see fatalities at Rainbow Serpent Festival? It’s because there is a huge amount of illicit drug taking going on,” Superintendent Allen said.

Police recorded six countsof combined drug trafficking and possession at theLexton event and also responded to an assault on a police officer.

Four people were evicted from the site over five days.

Superintendent Allen said police believed organised criminals were infiltrating the festival and “preying on vulnerable young people”.

“The community of Beaufort and the Pyrenees Shire have to evaluate whether this is causing harm to the community,”Superintendent Allen said.

“I know there is financial benefit…buthow long can we see this type of behavioursustained?”

Policewill conduct a festival debrief with the event’s organisers as well as representatives from the Pyrenees Shire.

Pyrenees Shire mayor Ron Eason said while he was concerned by the poor behaviour reported by Victoria Police he supported the festival’s continuation and welcomed emergency services’ feedback.

“If we provide a safe festival environment, which I currently believe we do, thenI stand by the festival,” Mr Eason said.

Superintendent Allen said policedid not want to see the festival shut down, but said “there has to be better planning and there has to be better ways of holding these types of events”.

Superintendent Allen declined to comment when asked if police would support adrug checking trial.

Rainbow Serpent organisers declined to comment.

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