Police are reminding people across the Hunter to mark Australia Day in a respectful and responsible way today.
Extra officers will be on duty throughout the state, with more than 2000 police expected to patrol community events and licensed venues.
Police say they will target anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents, as well as making sure people adhere to COVID-19 restrictions. Beaches across Port Stephens, Lake Macquarie and Newcastle will be a particular focus, along with a highly visible presence on the region's roads.
"Australia Day 2022 is a day to reflect, respect and celebrate the Australian spirit so we ask the community to be patient and respect each other and any restrictions in place," said Acting Superintendent Darren Beeche, the Newcastle City Police District acting commander.
"We must also remember that as we celebrate with mates, we are still in a pandemic - so be mindful of social distancing and all other restrictions which remain whether outdoors or at licensed venues.
"It's important to remember that alcohol consumption when around our waterways or on the roads can have fatal consequences - please always be mindful of your surroundings, watch out for your mates and drink in moderation, particularly with the forecast warmer weather across the state.
"Traffic and Highway Patrol officers will also be out on our roads. If you are caught doing the wrong thing, you will be arrested and put before the courts."
Assistant Commissioner Peter Cotter said police would focus on providing a safe environment for the community.
"Police are there to keep you safe, not ruin your day or spoil your fun. We want everyone to feel safe and respected as we come together to reflect on our history and celebrate contemporary Australia," he said.
"We ask that you follow the directions of police and know your limits when consuming alcohol. Look after your mates, have a plan to get home safely, and know that police and emergency services are on hand if you need help. Anyone found disrespecting each other with anti-social, dangerous or reckless behaviour will be detected and dealt with swiftly."
Deputy Premier and Police Minister Paul Toole is encouraging people to look out for each other.
"Australia Day is a time to reflect on what it means to be Australian. Mateship, camaraderie, respect and diversity are all part of our story," Mr Toole said.
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