The 2018 Sydney LGBTQI Mardi Gras has much cause for celebration. With legislation amending the marriage bill last year and the 40th anniversary of its inception; this year could be the largest and most celebrated Mardi Gras yet.
With great amounts of glitter also comes a large amount of responsibility. It is expected that approximately 500,000 people celebrated along the parade route of Oxford Street and beyond this past Saturday 3rd March. Security was tight with call in the lead up to the event to ensure the security details were in place and efficient for the night of celebration.
Last year, in the wake of the tragic Orlando shooting in a gay bar in Florida, Sydney Police had more than 1,000 officers overseeing the parade. This year, Sydney Police launched Operation Langdale to ensure a fun and safe night for the record-breaking revelling. The operation employed anti-riot, mounted unit, Police Air and traffic units. Their focus was on managing crowd movement as people followed the parade down Sydney’s streets, as well as targeting anti-social behaviour and drug use.
Sydney’s current lockout laws were lifted for the night. While this meant Sydney’s police had their work cut out for them on the night (and early morning), it will be interesting to see if Sydney’s security concerns that caused the lockout in the first place can also lead to change. It is hoped that lifting the laws for Mardi Gras can act as a test night to see if Sydney is safe enough to become an all-night city again.
The evolution of planning and security management of the Sydney Mardi Gras event has changed over the years. The Mardi Gras originally started as a protest (albeit a colourful one) that the police at the time had sought to prevent. Now, with its growth in Australian cultural relevance, the police now see to it that everyone can participate in the event safely.
Interestingly, this event showcases a unique form of cooperation between security forces and the local community. During preparations for the parade, the local LGBTQI community were seen to broadcast safety tips and useful information to the broader community to ensure safe interactions between the community and law enforcement.
News articles on safe sex, drug use prevention and knowing your rights have been circulating for the past few weeks to ensure that everyone enjoyed themselves without causing any trouble.
Such an example of cooperation has come from the tumultuous history of the Mardi Gras itself, but it is also a great example of integrating security police with the community. The management and security planning for this years’ event is likely to demonstrate an ability to use an events’ positive spirit to keep the public safe.
For assistance in event security planning please to not hesitate to contact Agilient
The Agilient Team