Police warning as Schoolies hit town
SCHOOLIES numbers are set to surge in Byron Bay over the weekend and local police, health professionals and community workers came together at Byron Bay Police Station today to warn those celebrating the end of their HSC studies to behave responsibly.
Detective Chief Inspector Brendan Cullen from the Tweed Byron Area Command said extra police police would be in town conducting overt and covert operations for the duration of Schoolies.
Director of Nursing at Byron Central Hospital Keryn York said staff numbers at Byron Central Hospital have been boosted to meet the extra demand expected. Chair of the Byron Liquor Accord Hannah Spalding said extra security staff would be on duty at local venues making ID checks.
Ch. Insp. Cullen said police wanted people to be safe and enjoy their time at Schoolies this year but warned alcohol and drug use may lead some to undertake risky and unsafe behaviour.
"Police will be here in numbers over the next two weeks and we want people to act responsibly,” he said.
"If you engage in ant-social, malicious or criminal behaviour police will be there (and if convicted) you will have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
"Police especially do not want to have to turn up someone's home to tell their parents their child has met with an accident, been seriously injured or worse.”
With Schoolies getting into full swing this weekend the Byron Bay Schoolies HUB tent is already up and running at Main Beach next door to the Surf Lifesaving Club.
HUB coordinator Nicqui Yazdi said so far Schoolies had been fairly laid back with some schoolies from the Gold Coast coming to Byron for a more laid back experience.
She said young people should look out for their mates, buddy up and make their first stop the HUB to get an idea of the services available.
"We can give them a bit of local knowledge to help make their stay safe and enjoyable,” said Ms Yazdi.
"We can offer a bit of tourism advice, supply free water and condoms and we can also offer a shoulder to cry on if you are missing home.”
This year the HUB is also offering a free shuttle bus service to and from Byron Central Hospital for schoolies with minor injuries.
For any other emergencies people should call Triple Zero.