The number of teens coming to Byron for schoolies week appears to have increased this year but they have generally been well behaved, the organiser of the Apex Park schoolies Hub says.
The Hub is a free volunteer-run drop-in service to ensure schoolies are safe.
Hub co-ordinator Niqui Yazdi said Saturday and Sunday nights at the Hub had been among the biggest she had seen in terms of numbers.
‘Those nights were huge, but the kids were pretty good,’ Ms Yazdi said.
‘Each year we find that they have a greater level of maturity. I spoke to one group of young guys from the Blue Mountains, and they were doing alternative nights. They’d go drinking and clubbing one night and then the next night they’d just go and have dinner together.’
Ms Yazdi said that, as usual, the small number of incidents of violence or anti-social behaviour that did occur tended to involve local young people, or those from the surrounding region.
‘There was a rumble involving a group of guys from Suffolk Park and another group,’ she said.
‘They weren’t actually schoolies – I’d say they were in their early 20s.’
Ms Yazdi said that the schoolies and police had generally been on very good terms. However, on one evening it appeared the presence of the police sniffer dog truck had scared some of the schoolies into consuming the drugs they were carrying, to avoid detection.
‘The police didn’t take the dogs out of the truck, but the kids could hear them barking,’ she said. ‘Within an hour, we saw an increase in drug-related attendances at the first-aid tent.
‘I can only assume that they had all gobbed their drugs because they were worried about the dogs.
Tweed/Byron Police District Officer in Charge at Byron Bay, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe said police would be targeting drug and alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour.
‘We aren’t here to ruin the fun – our officers will be around and are there for your safety,’ he said.