Sunday, 23 December 2012

Swanage Landslip - Station Officer's update

The last 48 hours have been very demanding on the team (and their families), some were out for 13 hours yesterday.

Whilst the majority of people have been supportive, some of the team have been met with anger and aggression when giving people advice or asking why they ignored the safety signs.

As an emergency service we do carry certain legal powers, however generally we use the power of common sense in trying to prevent an accident.
The whole point of temporarily closing the beach is to actually reduce the risk of injury to the public and avoid calling us out.
Perhaps some feel this is over the top, some feel it restricts their freedom however we would ask those to consider the risk it creates to those who have to perform the rescue if something happens, especially those who are volunteers like us.

Regrettably we along with our partner agencies can not provide 24 hour cover on the beach, as we found out today when the team responded to someone missing in Poole Harbour. Whilst we were searching we were made aware of a large crowd that had ignored the safety tape so had to redeploy other team members to again provide safety advice back in Swanage.

We really do hope that this is a temporary situation, the recent heavy rain is speeding up a process that has been developing for some months. There are several hot spots along the cliff from Ocean Bay to Sheps Hollow and whilst we continue to find fresh rock falls on the path and beach the closures shall remain in force.

The decision to close the beach was a multi agency decision involving:
HM Coastguard, Dorset Police, Dorset County Council, Purbeck District Council Engineer along with the many landowners in this area.

Our priority is to ensure the safety of the community and visitors to the town and I very much regret if our actions have spoilt the enjoyment of our normally very special beach area.

May I take this opportunity to thank all the team for their efforts this weekend and wish all our readers a Merry but safe Christmas.

Ian Brown
Station Officer

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