Victoria Police will have 450 officers patrolling the state’s roads to make sure Melbourne residents comply with COVID restrictions.

The rules have been eased in regional Victoria and police say there is a risk people will be tempted to break the rules over the weekend and head to country Victoria.

“Please don’t bother, we have an enormous amount of police dedicated to this operation, to ensure that people do comply with the chief health officer’s directions,” Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent told reporters on Friday.

He said the state’s tourist hotspots would be a particular focus.

Officers will use automated numberplate recognition systems to identify motorists from Melbourne driving in regional Victoria, and booze buses will also be deployed in a 24/7 operation on major roads.

About 200 police began patrolling the main arterials and back roads out of Melbourne at midnight on Thursday.

So far they have fined a 27 year old man from Little River, who was caught travelling to Geelong with a blood alcohol level of 0.266.

He will be charged with drink driving and fined $1652 for breaching COVID directions.

Since the latest lockdown rules were imposed, police have fined people for failing to wear masks, and for travelling further than the allowable limit.

Commissioner Nugent also warned people thinking of protesting against the restrictions over the weekend against doing so.

“Please don’t bother, don’t turn up, you’re going to be arrested and you will put people at risk,” he said.

Police say the operation will continue as long as Victoria’s strict COVID rules remain in place.

Acting Premier James Merlino has already said Melburnians will not be able to travel to regional Victoria for the June 12-14 Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Hundreds of police to enforce COVID rules
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