Teens praised for good behaviour at schoolies hot spot
ON DAY eight of NSW's schoolies celebrations Police have praised the thousands of teens who have poured into Byron Bay for their good behaviour.
Tweed Byron Police Inspector Bobbie Cullen said so far, police had not encountered any problems relating to schoolies at Byron.
"In fact we have not noticed a difference to the normal influx on a weekend," Insp Cullen said.
"We anticipate that we may see a small increase in schoolies from today and the week coming."
One service helping police to keep school leavers safe is The Schoolies Hub, which offers a 24-hour safe zone, information, and support at Main Beach, Byron Bay until Sunday, December 2.
Byron Bay Schoolies co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said an estimated 10,000 schoolies came into the Byron area over the two-week event and about 4000 of them were local.
"The first week has been great," Ms Yazdi said.
"It's been the quietest first week that we can remember in the last ten years," Ms Yazdi said.
"The schoolies I have spoken too have had a really chilled-out week."
She said the number one reason kids under 18 got into minor trouble was boredom, which could also lead some to drink alcohol in excess.
"By being able to create the safety hub up there which is a 24 hours safe zone for them and having the Red Frogs crew with their DJS and pancakes at night means we can keep the under 18 kids under supervision, under lights and having a good experience," she said.
"It's also about harm reduction, that's really the key for us, by having us there we are potential risks fro young people while they are here."
She said, at times, it was hard to distinguish the back packers from the schoolies during the two-week event.
The reality is we know every year there will be a certain number of local young people who will run a muck and can create problems fro us, but we are onto that pretty fast with the help of police," she said.
"But we also have a lot of young back packers and young tourists.
"Schoolies' drug of choice is alcohol, but the backpackers around Byron are far more sophisticated when it comes to drug use and there's a lot of very open drug use from them."
She said over the years, schoolies coming to connect at The Hub had helped them to identify any issues that were happening around the park at Main Beach.
"That includes alerting us to any drug dealers who have approached them attempting to sell them something ... and we've passed that along to police very fast," she said.
Only three schoolies have been taken to Byron Central Hospital for minor incidents in eight days by The Hub hospital shuttle service, with Ms Yadzi confirming there had been zero ambulance call outs.
About 70 volunteers are helping Ms Yazdi run The Hub, with the aim to increase that number to 100 volunteers next year.
"We will start to recruit volunteers earlier in the year next year to try and achieve that," she said.
"Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers."