POLICE arrested nine people at Rye on Saturday following a series of drunken brawls that have been connected to schoolies’ celebrations.
Police reinforcements and several specialist units were called to the township following a near riot two weekends ago and a brawl on the pier on Friday night.
While there are few, if any organised schoolie events at Rye, there is no shortage of “schoolies accommodation” being offered for the annual pre-Christmas visit by schoolies.
After the first schoolies incident on Saturday 24 November the mayor, Cr David Gill said “it shouldn’t be lost in the post mortem of this that the loss of the dedicated Vic Pol youth resource officer team … has significantly changed the longstanding partnership relationships this year and the apparent Vic Pol approach to schoolies in Rye”.
He said the police team had been “absolutely invaluable in providing a positive and problem-solving focused interface between schoolies [and] other youth services” during his six years as a volunteer team leader with the Red Frogs organisation which “provides a positive peer presence in alcohol-fuelled environments … and promotes alcohol-free and/or diversionary activities that engage young people in these environments”.
Police were also called to several “disruptive parties” on Friday night at Rye and Blairgowrie.
It is understood partygoers aged in their late teens to early 20s then moved on to the pier.
A number of people were injured during the pier brawl and were treated by ambulance officers at the scene.
Police media officer Leading Senior Constable Melissa Seach said the crowd at the pier threw bottles at police who retaliated with capsicum spray.
While investigations continue, two people are expected to be issued with infringement notices for riotous behaviour.
Police said patrols at Rye had been increased “due to the unruly behaviour recently”.
Specialist units called in to combat trouble on Saturday night included the Public Order Response Team, mounted branch and the dog squad.
Despite the visible presence of police a large crowd gathered at the foreshore with police responding to several brawls and drunken behaviour about 11pm.
Police had earlier declared the foreshore and immediate surrounds a designated area for a weapons search.
More than 30 people were searched for weapons although no arrests were made.
However, nine people were arrested in relation to “riotous behaviour”, possessing drugs and possessing liquor and being drunk in a public place.
“Those participating in schoolies are reminded to be mindful and respectful of the community and any antisocial and drunken behaviour will not be tolerated,” Leading Senior Constable Seach said.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppersvic.com.au