DRUNKEN ANTICS: Ryan Turnbull captured a video of one of the regular fights across from his pub.
DRUNKEN ANTICS: Ryan Turnbull captured a video of one of the regular fights across from his pub. Contributed

Rocky police plans to bust Fitzroy River fight club

SINCE the footage of an apparently consensual fight was released earlier this week, Rockhampton police have been bombarded with enquiries surrounding public behaviour on the riverbank.

The video, taken by Criterion Hotel owner, Ryan Turnbull, outside his pub, received hundreds of comments online, and has sparked concerns about what is being done by law enforcement about riverbank incidents that Mr Turnbull has told the Morning Bulletin is happening "every day”.

Mr Turnbull raised concern on his Facebook post about the fight, and stated that the incident extended to issues including intoxicated individuals approaching his customers for cigarettes and repeatedly asking to use his bathroom whilst drunk, as well as deterring the public from spending time using the riverbank facilities.

Although nobody was arrested for the incident, Rockhampton police say that they will be continuing their enquiries and be using the footage to run their enquiries on.

Inspector David Peff spoke with The Morning Bulletin about the measures being taken to prevent further instances like this occurring.

"We're happy to investigate, to prosecute matters but we need to have sufficient evidence that will withstand scrutiny in court to the prerequisite standard,” Insp Peff said.

"I don't condone that conduct, but we need that evidence and we don't have it, we've made every effort we can to obtain sufficient evidence.

"In this occasion, we are relying on others to provide that information.”

Since the beginning of August, Rockhampton police have received seven calls for service for incidents along the entire riverbank area ranging from north of Raymond Huish Drive and down to the end of Depot Hill.

From August 19 to October 13, there have been nine drug related charges and nine public disorder and consumption of alcohol charges.

Inspector David Peff addresses Fitzroy's fight club saga.
Inspector David Peff addresses Fitzroy's fight club saga. Chris Ison ROK131017cpolice1

Insp Peff said this largely in part due to the three-month-old operation, Operation Bosky, which he described as a dedicated operation conducting proactive patrols of the river front precinct to identify anti-social behaviour”.

"It's proactive,” he said.

"It's trying to identify offences that are being committed and trying to prevent offences being committed through just straight visual presence.

"It doesn't happen every single day... and part of the reason for that is that it needs to be random in its nature so that we don't run a metronome cop clock where we know that between 10 and 12 police are going to be on the river-front so therefore no-one will be there committing offences.

"It's all around creating that level of uncertainty in offending behaviour so that we hopefully will start to see a diminishing process.

"On top of that, we've got engagement strategies with other service providers to try and engage with people that are frequenting the river-front and try to (address) their health and their personal housing needs... to engage with them in terms of their longer term health and well-being.”

Operation Bosky was established through community concerns around public safety on the river front, and was a means for local police to addressing the concerns and focusing on where service needs are and appoint the appropriate resources.

"It's around trying to instil a level of community confidence in an area that is public space and our expectation is that everyone should be able to share that public space in a peaceful, harmonious and lawful way,” Insp Peff said.

"We'll continue to do what we can to prevent it in the first instance but where it does happen we will then pro-actively investigate it with a view of prosecuting if we can identify offenders.

"If it's not reported, then we aren't being made aware of it therefore we can't address it and we don't respond to stuff that sits in social media commentary because it's not based on fact.

"For any person who sees conduct that's unlawful or unsocial, ring Police Link or if it's urgent ring 000. Facebook is not a method for reporting incidents.”

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