Friday, 4 July 2014

Thanet Council - New combined PCSO and Lifeguard role on Thanet’s beaches

Residents and visitors will be extra safe on the district’s beaches this summer as a new beach-based combined PCSO and RNLI Lifeguard will be patrolling the sands from this weekend (Saturday 5 July). This is the first initiative of its kind on the Kent coast.
After feedback from residents, the Thanet Community Safety Partnership has organised for a local PCSO to be trained as a fully qualified RNLI lifeguard.  PCSO Alex Walker has completed an internationally recognised beach lifeguard award and RNLI Lifeguard training and will be working alongside RNLI lifeguards on some of our busiest beaches this summer.
PSCO Walker will be based at beaches across Thanet primarily as a PCSO and will be linking in with RNLI lifeguards and bay inspectors, giving out advice and providing an additional presence on the beach at busy events. This double role will mean that PSCO Walker will not only be able to address anti-social behaviour but also have the skills to act as an RNLI Lifeguard where necessary.
Leader of Thanet District Council and Cabinet Member for Tourism Cllr Iris Johnston said, ‘This project was an important part of this year’s Community Safety Plan and I am delighted that this will be implemented to coincide with the start of the peak holiday season. We’ve acted on feedback from residents and the innovative dual position that this project has enabled should prove useful over the summer for residents and visitors alike.’
Rory Smith, RNLI Lifeguard Manager said, ‘This project is another example of the added value the RNLI Lifeguard service has bought to the Thanet area. PCSO Walker has been trained to the same high standards as all of our RNLI Lifeguards, and will be key to helping keep the beaches a safer place this coming summer’.
Sgt Amanda Cullen from Thanet Community Safety Unit said: “I am excited about this project, which is a first for Kent Police and gives us the opportunity to innovatively address the issues that are of concern to residents and visitors to Thanet beaches during the summer months.

“It is an excellent example of how partnership working can help improve local communities and deter crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Thanet’s beaches have been awarded seven prestigious Blue Flags, more than anywhere else in the country. 

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