SAPOL prepares for 2014 Victor Harbor Schoolies Festival

Pictured speaking to the media at last year's Schoolies is Operation Schoolies Festival of Celebrations police commander, Robert Williams. Encounter Youth CEO Nigel Knowles looks on.
Pictured speaking to the media at last year's Schoolies is Operation Schoolies Festival of Celebrations police commander, Robert Williams. Encounter Youth CEO Nigel Knowles looks on.

The final school bell has rung for 10,000 Year 12 students across South Australia, who are looking forward to the Victor Harbor Schoolies Festival.

From Friday to Sunday, November 21-23, SA Police will be working alongside Encounter Youth and over 650 of their volunteers 'The Green Team' to deliver a safe event in Warland Reserve.

Police Commander for Operation Schoolies Festival 2014, Superintendent Rob Williams, is asking school leavers to take ownership of their event.

"Look after one another, make sensible choices and you're bound to have a positive, memorable experience", he said.

"If you do choose to drink, don't overdo it. When you drink too much, you're at greater risk of assault, including sexual assault.

"Don't let friends wander off on their own, and never leave your drink unattended. Stick together, and ensure everyone gets home safely."

Superintendent Williams also stressed that young people attending Schoolies Festival should trust their instincts, and not hesitate to ask for help if needed.

"If something's amiss, or you don't feel safe, approach a SAPOL officer or an Encounter Youth Green Team volunteer. We're here to help".

This year's event is the 16th annual Schoolies Festival coordinated by Encounter Youth.

Superintendent Williams reinforced that Schoolies Festival is not a licensed event, and that Warland Reserve remains a dry zone.

"It's also an offence to sell or supply liquor to anyone who is under 18 years of age", he said.

"We will be policing the sale and use of illicit drugs. Don't gamble with your safety. Remember that no drug is completely without risk, and that being found in possession of drugs could significantly impact on your future opportunities.

"If you have consumed drugs or alcohol, don't drive. There is always a better, safer alternative."

As Principal Partner of Schoolies Festival, the Motor Accident Commission is once again providing the free MAC Schoolies Festival Bus Service to ferry ticket-holders safely to and from their accommodation in and around Victor Harbor.

"Please be patient and follow the directions of Encounter Youth volunteers to avoid overcrowding at Schoolies Bus boarding points", Superintendent Williams said.

Police will pay special attention to older non-school leavers trying to gain entry to the event.

A wristband system designed by Encounter Youth will be in place to ensure that only paid-up school leavers gain access to festival venues.

For photos of this year's festival, free things to do on the south coast, and a run down of emergency service reports, click here.

This story Police urge Schoolies to make 'sensible choices' first appeared on The Times.