Last week – and it looks like again this week – the police searched us on the streets of Byron Bay and in our vehicles with sniffer dogs. The operation just so happens to coincide with Schoolies.
As this is quite a large police presence in our town, perhaps they should be called ‘Rulies.’
The ‘Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Regulation 2005’ allows Rulie Units to search pubs, places of public events and public transport with dogs. However to search us on the street and in our cars requires a ‘street’ warrant, which is lodged at the local court house.
According to the NSW State Ombudsman’s office, ‘Members of the public are entitled to view a copy of the application of the drug detec- tion warrant and the report on the execution of the warrant, which is pursuant to clause 10 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Regulation 2005.
‘Clause 10(6)(c) states that any member of the public may view a copy of the warrant application and the warrant execution report (referred to in clause 10(1)(a) and clause 10(1)(d) respectively) during opening hours for a period of at least six years after the warrant was granted.’
So if anyone would like to view the warrant, it should be available at our local court house through the Registrar for the Issuing Justice. I am told however, by the Lismore court house, that the warrant cannot be photcopied or reproduced.
Thelawisavailablehere: www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/maintop/ view/inforce/subordleg+748+2005+cd+0+N.
It would make for interesting reading – the warrant needs to state reasonable suspicion for searching anyone outside pubs, places of public events and public transport. Having ‘reasonable suspicion’ is arbitrary at best and is completely at the discretion of the Rulies.
Last week’s news was that the Big Hadron Collider successfully smashed atoms. Possibly of greater significance to Byron Shire is that Squeelies have hit town.
When compared to other destinations we still come out as a pretty good place to celebrate the end of compulsory schooling. It’s relatively safe here. As the Nanny Shire of Australia, we are willing to keep a friendly parental eye on them.
If the weather holds up Main Beach near the Byron pool will, like previous year’s, provide a place to gather and receive free liquids, refreshments, and condoms. It’s all made possible by the efforts of The Byron Schoolies Safety Response (BSSR), BUDDI-CDAT (Byron Underage Drinking & Drug Initiative) and the Byron Youth Service (BYS). Other community and church groups also contribute.
The space on the beach provides a safe environment for young people to celebrate. Or hang out, or shop, or whatever. And while it is borderline uncool to mill about near the oldies, the free service provided here speaks volumes for the town’s character.
And what a boon for the town! A two week stay booked at an upmarket CBD three bedroom townhouse can cost you $11,000. There is still last minute places to stay by the looks of most accommodation websites.
Not all places take Squeelies, however, and I have heard they also generally prefer female Squeelies to male Squeelies.
There’s also a confidential 24-hour Noisy Neighbour Hot- line if you are experiencing excruciatingly trashy music and loud Squeelies next door in the early hours. By calling 6626 6888 you get an immediate response through a private security company or, if need be, the police.
So welcome squeelies, toolies, goulies and zoolies. Welcome to Byron Bay and its beautiful surrounds. We sincerely hope you enjoy your stay. Please don’t get pregnant, unless you really want to, and look out for spiked drinks and police sniffer dogs.
With any luck your experience here will be more than an alcohol fuelled binge and awkward beach fondling. You never know, you could possibly learn something more useful than Maths, English and Science. May this vacation be the spiritual, intellectual and physical launchpad for your future.