ON THE JOB: Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe outlined NSW Police's response to Schoolies 2018.
ON THE JOB: Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe outlined NSW Police's response to Schoolies 2018. Javier Encalada

Message to schoolies: Respect the Bay

IMAGINE thousands of year 12 school leavers descending onto Byron Bay to party for seven straight days. You may call it hell, but they call it Schoolies.

Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe, Duty Officer at Tweed / Byron Police District, outlined the preparations his command has activated to face the influx of party-goers, including the riot squad, licensing and mounted police.

Detective Inspector Kehoe's message to schoolies coming to Byron Bay was simple: respect the Bay and look after one another.

"It is a large event, the two-week period of Schoolies," he said.

"So we will be bringing extra police to help our local resources."

The duty officer declined to specify how many extra police they have assigned for the area, but said police presence will be similar to previous years.

"We do have some extra resources from Sydney, with the Public Order and Riot Squad, our OSG (Operational Support Group) Licensing Police and the mounted section as well," he said.

Detective Inspector Kehoe admitted there has been issues in the past in Byron Bay with disorderly behaviour from schoolies, but commented those issues have not reached a serious level.

"In the past we've had anti-social behaviour, alcohol-related incidents, but generally, schoolies have been very well behaved and managed by the local support groups and police."

"Police aren't here to ruin your fun, but rather make it a safe environment for your celebrations," Det Insp Kehoe said.

"Drugs and alcohol impairs your judgement and may lead to a conviction or choice that affects the rest of your life.

"Know your limits and look out for your mates so you can ensure this is a memorable event for the right reasons.

"Officers will be around and are there for your safety; approach police or authorities if you are in danger or a victim of any type of crime.

"Large crowds are expected, and people are urged to plan ahead; those not joining in the celebrations are asked to watch out for increased pedestrian activity."

The policeman said they have no specific intelligence this year about people who are not schoolies travelling to Byron Bay to party with them, also known as 'toolies' of "foolies'.

"We are aware of incidents that have happened in the past and we are monitoring as we have dealt with them previously," he said.

Detective Inspector Kehoe said he has spoken to local accommodation providers and they don't expect a bigger number of visitor from previous years.