Victoria Police have warned the gay community a planned operation to seize weapons will take place in the city this Saturday.
The search under the Control of Weapons Act will occur around Flinders St Railway Station, spanning Queensbridge St to Swanston St, from 4pm–10pm on Saturday, March 6.
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit manager Sergeant Scott Davis told Southern Star the gay community is specifically being notified as known sex-on-premises venues and beats operate in the vicinity.
Davis said the operation is focused on the seizure of weapons and is not an attempt to target the sex locations.
“Given the recent incident in Alma Park, this is a positive move for the community and hopefully we’ll see a reduction over time of people carrying weapons,” Davis said.
As part of the police community engagement and communications strategy, the Victoria Police GLBTI Advisory Committee was consulted on the operation and requested the community be made aware of the plans.
The weapons search will involve around 80 police who will use portable walk-through and hand-held metal detectors to locate weapons.
Police will also be able to search vehicles.
The search is the result of new laws passed last year allowing police the power to search anyone for weapons in a designated area without a warrant.
Davis said previous operations at Footscray and North Melbourne railway stations resulted in police finding items and charging people.
In the Footscray search in January, police scanned 182 people and found 12 weapons, including a machete.
In related news, Davis said police are still looking into the Alma Park incident in St Kilda where a man was harassed by a gang of four men and attacked with a knife in a known beat.
Investigators, however, have made little progress identifying the attackers as descriptions have been patchy.