Police presence has paid off
THE STRONG police presence in Byron Bay during the 2011 Schoolies celebrations paid off, Schoolies HUB organisers say.
Around 45 additional police officers were sent to the town during Schoolies, including mounted police, sniffer dogs and public order and riot squad teams.
While some locals reacted negatively to the increased police presence, the co-ordinator of the Schoolies Hub that was stationed at Main Beach, Nicqui Yazdi, said the police presence was vital to the success and safety of the Schoolies event and was necessary if the volunteer group was to receive funding to keep going in 2012.
"Personally, I am grateful for the extra police. They made our job a lot easier this year," Ms Yazdi said.
"They helped to keep the alcohol and bottles out of the park, they dealt with potentially violent situations and they came to the assistance of the HUB volunteers and the Red Frogs fast and efficiently," she said.
"Unfortunately, there's pretty much nothing that can be done to stop Schoolies, so the best we can do, as a community, is to respond to the influx of these visitors each year and do what we can to keep these celebrations under control."
Ms Yadzi said the Schoolies HUB needed funding to operate, and having Schoolies officially recognised as a police event would help the group fund the next year's event.
"The funds for what we do are gathered throughout the year through small grants, donations and sponsorship," she said.
"Having the police declare Schoolies in Byron a police event will now assist us to look for much-needed State Government funding."