Police up presence at Schoolies
SCHOOLIES are going to find it increasingly difficult to cause trouble in Byron Bay this year.
With the two-week party period kicking off this weekend, police are ready to increase their presence in the area.
Thousands of school leavers are expected to head to the beachside town to celebrate the end of their school days.
Schoolies’ volunteers will work with police to help revellers have a fun but safe experience, Tweed/Byron Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Shane Diehm said.
“We work closely with the Byron Bay schoolies HUB and we are on the schoolies committee,” he said.
“We want the kids to have a good time but to do it safely.
“We are expecting between 12,000 to 15,000 people over the two weeks as well as daytrippers.
“We will have drug detection dogs present, random breath-testing units patrolling the main and back roads, and high visibility policing.
“We have our services and we will have help from the Richmond Local Area Command.”
Byron Bay’s CBD is an alcohol-free zone and Det Insp Diehm said where appropriate, confiscation of liquor and on-the-spot fines will apply.
Schoolies celebrations in Byron Bay were rocked last year after a 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in the sand dunes at Main Beach.
Police will be on 24 hour patrols around the town starting from Friday, Det Insp Diehm said.
“All we can do is patrol the parks, streets and the beaches,” he said.
“Council is putting in lighting that will hopefully deter people from lingering in dark places and we encourage anyone who sees suspicious activity or is subject to, to report it.”
The first week of schoolies is generally dedicated to NSW school leavers, most of whom are 18-year-olds.
But local licensed venues still expect to see under-age party goers attempting to sneak in.
Cheeky Monkeys Bar and Restaurant manager Marty Meiki said they had a protocol for catching people who use fake IDs.
It’s a system which he believes works every time.
“We have a 10 question policy with all different questions that we ask them and it always gets them,” he said.
“We confiscate the licence and, if it is legitimate, we give it to the police and get them to collect it.”
But after years of experience, Mr Meiki is warning those who are under-age to ‘not even try it.’