Private Police out in Force; Splendour in the Hands of 270 Security Guards at Byron Bay

Article excerpt

Byline: Saffron Howden saffron.howden@northernstar.com.au

THESE are just three of the 270 private security guards who will be scoping the perimeter and on the lookout for drugs, fence-jumpers, and anti-social behaviour at this year's Splendour in the Grass festival.

The private police will outnumber the boys and girls in blue in Byron Bay this weekend, as they do every night of the week.

And the phenomenon is not unique to the popular tourist town.

Private security personnel now vastly outnumber police Australia-wide.

Where just a decade ago the balance was reversed, there are now 52,768 people employed full-time in the security industry and 44,898 in police.

Between 1996 and 2006 there was a 41.2 per cent increase in security guards.

This compares with a 14.5pc rise in police, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Criminology.

CAP Security Services owner Dale Hall, who is providing and co-ordinating Splendour's security arrangements this weekend, puts it down to law changes requiring pubs, clubs and festivals to take responsibility for their own protection and the behaviour of their patrons.

"The legislation has increased the security numbers," he said. …