NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says anti-lockdown protests are wasting valuable resources that could otherwise be diverted to help with the state's escalating COVID crisis.
On Tuesday police broke up almost 100 small anti-lockdown protests across NSW, arresting more than 150 people and issuing 570 fines.
Last month 1500 police turned out in force in Sydney to quell protests which followed a larger violent protest in the CBD in July.
Mr Fuller told a NSW budget estimates hearing on Wednesday that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic there had been around 1000 protests a year, which were generally peaceful, well organised and with very few arrests.
"But obviously the COVID protests are very different," he said.
Because the anti-lockdown protests were illegal "you don't tend to have protest organisers, you just have a group of people ... a rabble if you like turning up".
"It's using up an enormous amount of police resources that could well be used assisting health at the moment," Mr Fuller said.
"I just think people underestimate the risks they take coming together in such big numbers.
"It just makes no sense - there are so many other ways people can protest at the moment without actually having to turn up."