NEW South Wales Police are urging their Schoolies to make the event memorable for all the right reasons.
‘Schoolies 2014’ runs for three weeks from tomorrow to Saturday 13 December 2014, with most NSW students expected to travel from week two.
Corporate Spokesperson for Youth, Acting Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy, reminded all school leavers to make good choices as they celebrate the end of their school career.
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“Whether you are celebrating close to home, on the beach at Byron Bay or the Gold Coast, or an overseas resort, please remember, this is the start of the rest of your life,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Loy said.
“It is important to think about the consequences of your actions, especially if you’re drinking, because a seemingly insignificant occurrence could impact your plans for the future.
“Schoolies who are already aged 18 are an adult under the law and they need to remember anything that goes on their criminal record is forever,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Loy said.
Police from Tweed/Byron Local Area Command will conduct a highly-visible policing operation at the state’s most popular schoolies destination, Byron Bay, throughout the celebrations.
Officers will be assisted by the Public Order and Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Mounted Unit, Police Transport Command, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and Dog Unit, to ensure the safety and security of school leavers, and minimise the impact on the local community.
The operation will target alcohol-related offences, illegal drug use and supply, anti-social behaviour in and around licensed premises, car parks and beaches and criminal behaviour.
Tweed/Byron Local Area Commander, Detective Superintendent Stuart Wilkins, urged school leavers to act responsibly and look out for each other.
“Schoolies is a great way to celebrate completing the HSC but the occasion should be marked sensibly, responsibly and safely,” Det Supt Wilkins said.
“More than 10,000 school leavers visited the area during ‘Schoolies 2013’, which doesn’t include the hundreds of day trippers and other tourists in the Byron Bay area, so our operation will also focus on minimising the impact of events on the local community.
“The community of Byron Bay has a reputation of being relaxed and friendly, and we hope schoolies chose to come here to embrace that atmosphere and enjoy the activities on offer.
“If you are over 18, think before you drink, and know your limits, take responsibility for yourself and look after your friends.
“Alcohol impairs your judgement and leads to poor decision-making; don’t take risks that could lead to you becoming a victim of crime or an offender.
“Most importantly, police are here to help, so don’t be scared to approach an officer if you think something is not right. If you need urgent assistance, call Triple Zero (000),” Det Supt Wilkins said.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Loy also highlighted the risks associated with social networking and photo or video sharing sites.
“Smart phones with access to email and social networking sites are a great way to stay in touch with your friends, but there is the potential for instantly shared information to affect your safety or future job prospects.
“When you post something online, it’s there for everyone to see, including your family or even a future employer. So think about what pictures and comments you are putting on the web.
“Before you leave, double check settings on your social media accounts and ensure you are only sharing with people you trust.
“Remember, anyone can photograph or film you in a public place and post it online, so make sure you and your friends behave responsibly and legally,” Deputy Commissioner Loy said.