A NEW group has been launched in York to drive a safety campaign to minimise the risk of further tragedies in the city’s rivers.

Since the start of the year, four people have died in the Ouse or the Foss, and North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan is spearheading work to improve safety and awareness.

She held a safety summit and is due to hold a second later this summer following the deaths of Megan Roberts, Ben Clarkson, Tyler Pearson and Dr Mandeep Ahluwalia, and a working group has now been launched to look at ideas.

She said: “We have made progress with a short-term river safety-campaign and have done some filming with Megan and Ben’s families.

These are in the process of being edited into short films, and we hope to be able to launch an awareness campaign soon.

“A more significant and longer-term programme incorporating the films mentioned above is also being developed, and should launch towards the end of the year. We also need to decide when and how this campaign should be run, and who we target. This is something which can go on the agenda for the next summit.”

The second summit was due to be held this week but has been postponed following the first meeting of a new working group, under the organisation of Safer York Partnership, to allow more time for the development of the campaigns from the various organisations.

Mrs Mulligan also highlighted the creation of river safety initiatives by the University of York’s Student Union, which sees volunteers help young people in danger or distress in York on YUSU club nights, and by York St John University Student Union, which has launched a campaign to ensure students plan their nights out and their journeys home.

The Press recently relaunched its own river safety campaign, which was first launched in 2011, following the death of barman Richard Horrocks.