How parents will be spying on schoolies
CASHED-UP parents are paying private investigators to spy on their children at Schoolies celebrations, with some even sending agents to follow their kids around Fiji and Bali.
Private investigators are booking high-rise apartments overlooking partygoers' accommodation or festivities to report back to parents if celebrations get out of hand.
Oliver Laurence, founder of OJT Investigations Group, said Schoolies week was one of the firm's busiest.
"We've already got about 16 jobs lined up for the Schoolies period, predominantly on the Gold Coast, but we also have people travelling to Fiji and Bali," the former police officer said.
Mr Laurence said some schoolies were aware they were being watched, but many weren't.
"It's a safety net," he said. "We're not a bodyguard service. We're not Kevin Costner. We are there to report back and keep parents informed, and to ensure the person we are watching is safe and enjoys themselves."
He said his agents would intervene as though they were "a member of the public" if they saw a change in a "vulnerable" situation.
"We've had situations where we have prevented fights, damage to apartments, kids being left on the beach grossly intoxicated," Mr Laurence said.
"If police need to be advised, we call them first and foremost. If someone's life is in danger, that's our first port of call."
Asked what investigators would do if asked to report back on any public sexual activities, Mr Laurence said: "We report on all activities of concern, be it sexual, drug related or safety related."
He said sometimes they booked an apartment in a building opposite where a client's child was staying so they could report back if a party got too wild.
"These parents are often guarantors on an apartment being leased and they don't want to end up paying thousands of dollars if it gets damaged," he said. "If we see things getting out of hand, we call the parents, who might come and do a spot check."
The agency was booked by 12 sets of parents last year, with investigators forced to intervene in three cases.
Some parents engage investigators to keep an eye on their children for the evening festivities only, while others want them watched 24/7.
"As an industry standard, parents are prepared to pay anywhere from $1500 to $5000 or $6000 for the week," Mr Laurence said.
"But, obviously, when you are looking at international jobs, it's a substantial investment. We send two agents on a plane, and there are accommodation costs. A job like that is upwards of $10,000."
This year's Schoolies celebrations will be held from November 17-24.
A total of 66 schoolies out of 21,282 were arrested last year - 44 relating to drugs.
"The planning for the police response to Schoolies 2018 is well under way," a QPS spokesperson said.
"Gold Coast police resources will be supplemented by uniform and specialist police to enhance community safety."