Tight security on show -- Organisers up the ante to tackle bad behaviour

By PETER CATON

ORGANISERS of the Murwillumbah Show in November plan to dramatically increase security to stop drunkenness, violence and vandalism marring the weekend.

Secretary Anne-Louise Way yesterday declared the show committee had decided to "up the ante" on this year's event.

They will employ 20 security guards over the two days and erect an APEC-style barrier fence around the bar area, banning all other alcohol. Ms Way warned if the added security measures and alcohol restrictions did not work "next year's show will be a dry one".

The chain-wire barrier fence, like the lengthy fence being erected in central Sydney to keep protestors away from next week's APEC conference of Asia and Pacific government leaders including US President George Bush, will keep drinkers inside the Branding Rail bar.

The moves follow vandalism and drunkenness in Murwillumbah on past show weekends and continued problems with under-age drinkers and vandalism last Friday night during the Banana Festival.

Yesterday the Daily News %revealed organisers of next week's Festival of Speed on Tweed have also arranged heavy security even though that event has a good record.

Ms Way said the barrier fence around the bar area at this year's show would have just one entry and exit which would be manned by% security guards.

"And we will have six to eight security guards on the ground during the day and 10 at night, plus police as well," she said.

"It's a huge bill because it's no alcohol to be consumed elsewhere on the grounds. In the past we have had people consuming alcohol bringing it onto the grounds.

"We've had to up the ante this year. It was just too hard to police if people weren't restricted to% the Branding Rail area.

"It's mega bucks for security but the only other option was to have a dry show."

Ms Way warned if the security measures were not completely %successful and trouble still broke out "we will have to look at a dry show next year."

But she added: "We do want a dry show weatherwise... so we have to pray for no rain during the show."

Organisers are also hopeful saddle horses will join the usually popular rodeo event this year provided the current equine flu %restrictions have eased.



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