There will be 9000 extra police at Sydney's Vivid festival this year

Light trails from boats during a long exposure are seen as Australia’s iconic Opera House is lit up for the Vivid Sydney festival last year. Photo: Saeed Khan/ AFP/ Getty Images.

There will be an increased police presence at the Sydney Vivid festival this year.

Police have launched Operation Emerald ahead of the festival, which starts tonight, saying public safety will be their top priority with up to 2.5 million people expected to attend.

Operation Emerald is a high-visibility policing strategy that will see additional officers patrolling across the city.

9000 extra police will be on duty in areas across the Sydney including the Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Martin Place, as well as The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Chatswood, Taronga Zoo, and Barangaroo (South) to ensure the safety and security of the community throughout the event.

This week prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that security measures at major events around the country will be reviewed following the suicide bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which killed 22 people.

Officers will be targeting anti-social behaviour, boating safety, and protecting property and installations from damage or defacement, in addition to minimising traffic disruptions and pedestrian congestion.

“Like all major events, we want to ensure everyone can enjoy the festival in a safe, family-friendly and stress-free environment,” acting assistant commissioner Mick Fitzgerald said.

“Police have been working closely with Destination NSW – who owns, manages, and produces Vivid Sydney – as well as other government agencies and event landholders to ensure the event runs smoothly.”

He urges that visitors plan ahead as the city will be transformed with light displays and large crowds, particularly on opening night and the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

“During the busier nights, crowd barriers will be in place to provide safe viewing areas, and we urge people to follow directions from police and event marshals to allow for safe pedestrian movement,” Fitzgerald said.

“There’ll be plenty of action and visual distractions across the CBD, so it’s important that pedestrians and motorists travel with extra care.”

Road closures and special event clearways will be in place to safely facilitate crowd flow and police are urging everyone to leave their car at home and catch public transport.

For all the latest Vivid Sydney information, including road closure information and public transport information to help plan your trip, visit vividsydney.com.

The festival runs for 23 nights between 6pm and 11pm, until Saturday June 17.

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