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Forty one schools launch water safety message

Mini Police Water Safety Launch_Ebcester July 2017

Image: Mini Police group photo for Water Safety launch at Ebchester

Forty one schools across County Durham and Darlington are taking part in a water safety initiative launched by Durham Constabulary.

The Force’s 'Mini Police' - a programme which involves youngsters in policing and community issues – have teamed up with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Royal Life Saving Society UK (RLSS) to teach children about water safety in schools across the region, after 27 people lost their lives at the north of England coasts in 2016*.

Mini Police ambassadors at Ebchester Primary School in Consett, County Durham, will deliver a water safety presentation to their peers on July 5 and will be joined by the Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner Ron Hogg, High Sheriff Caroline Peacock, County Durham and Darlington Fire Service, the neighbourhood police team, the RNLI, RLSS, and Mini Police from Northumbria Police who attend Newbrough Primary in Northumberland.

PC Craig Johnson, who heads up Mini Police, said: “One life lost is too many and so we set out to find a way of tackling this issue.

“The Mini Police is a project which sees 9 to 11-year-olds volunteering to support the force priorities. They are our ambassadors for water safety and they want to spread the message far and wide. They help to tackle local issues as highlighted by their own communities.”

County Durham High Sheriff, Mrs Peacock, said: “It’s a fantastic initiative which is proving its worth already. It is spreading to other forces and has a real transformative effect. I am very much in support of it.”

Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “It’s vitally important that children understand how they can stay safe around water, particularly if they’re on their own without adult supervision. Knowing the dangers, including those hidden from sight, will help a child to think twice about their safety, and potentially save their life.”

Sarah Pitt, Northumbria Police Superintendent, said: "The Mini Police is a fantastic scheme and we were really proud to launch our own Mini Police in the Northumbria area earlier this year. Water safety is an important issue and we're pleased some of Mini Police have been invited to the presentation by their friends in Durham and know they are looking forward to attending."

Darren Lewis, from the RNLI, said: “Thousands of people are rescued every year by RNLI lifeboat crews and lifeguards but, tragically, there are many more who cannot be saved. Following simple advice could be the difference between life and death and so we encourage learning as early as possible.”

The Mini Police project, which began at Durham Constabulary, has seen other forces roll out similar schemes including Northumbria Police, Thames Valley Police and Lincolnshire Police who are also taking part in this campaign.

*Coastal fatality figures released by the RNLI show 27 people lost their lives at the north of England coasts in 2016 > https://rnli.org/news-and-media/2017/may/25/coastal-deaths-rnli-says-fight-your-instincts-not-the-water-to-help-survive2

Posted on Wednesday 5th July 2017
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