Rescue leader meets to discuss river safety

York Press: Dave Benson Dave Benson

THE founder of the York Rescue Boat has met City of York Council to discuss further river safety measures.

Dave Benson gained charitable status for the boat project earlier this month and wants to work with volunteers to patrol the Ouse when people are most at risk of falling or jumping in, but also wants the authority to consider some other safety measures.

Mr Benson met with the council last week and said the authority made it clear “they didn’t want to raise expectations” but a review of the current CCTV coverage of the city’s riverbanks would also take place.

He said the meeting went better than he expected.

He told The Press: “They said they would investigate the field of view on each camera and how the existing measures work with other agencies, and if any new cameras could be put in, where if there was a gap in the system at the moment by highlighting dangers then they could look towards adding any depending on funding.”

The council works with other organisations to deal with river safety issues, and recently said they would “work together to provide support and safety advice”.

Following the meeting, Steve Waddington, assistant director of housing and community safety with the council, said: “This is just one of many conversations we have had with interested parties on the subject of river safety.

“City of York Council is engaged in a number of well-established multi-agency groups looking at various issues of personal safety of which river safety is just one aspect.”

Mr Benson said he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.

He said: “It’s the whole system that needs re-evaluating, not just cameras.

“The reason I went was as an aspect of safety was the cameras, but various aspects need to be looked at, whether that’s fencing or grab-ropes, whatever.

“I’m happy with how it went. I didn’t go in expecting anything to happen immediately, but just the fact they acknowledged it and are looking into it is what we hoped for.”

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