Police are questioning whether the latest instalment of Rainbow Serpent festival, which recently concluded in Lexton, Victoria, should be the last, citing a number of cases of antisocial behaviour that took place at this year’s event.

A Victoria Police media release claims police caught 40 drivers leaving the festival under the influence of drugs and one driver leaving under the influence of alcohol, and arrested five people for drug trafficking offences.

However, as Tone Deaf has previously noted, road-side drug testing is an often inaccurate practice as it does not compare readings to a baseline of impairment but instead flags drivers regardless of the amount of drugs in their system.

Shockingly, police also claim four cases of sexual assault were reported over the course of the six-day festival, as well as several cases of theft and one case of unlawful assault upon two security staff.

“Every year we see the event take place, every year we raise our concerns and every year we are left picking up the pieces,” Victoria Police Inspector Bruce Thomas said in a statement.

“It’s painfully obvious that there are huge direct and indirect risks to the community as a result of the behaviour that takes place at the festival. It was a miracle that no one was killed on our roads given the number of drug drivers departing from the festival.”

Insp Thomas acknowledged the “economic benefits” of hosting the festival in Lexton, but questioned whether such benefits supersede public safety. “Something has to change,” he said.

“We intend to raise this discussion with both local government members and festival organisers at the annual event debrief.”

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However, Rainbow Serpent organisers insist on-ground police praised the behaviour of this year’s patrons, with organiser Tim Harvey telling The Courier Mail that the vast majority of Rainbow’s 16,000 punters behaved appropriately.

Organisers addressed the cases of assault in a post to the official Rainbow Serpent Facebook page (via Music Feeds), writing, “While there is always room for improvement and we abhor the terrible isolated cases of assault at Rainbow this year the vast majority of you were wonderful human beings.”

“Unfortunately it looks like some police feel Rainbow shouldn’t continue because we face the exact same challenges the rest of society is facing.”

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