Question 02/17


Question 02/17

Q. After reading your council officials quite frankly disgusting racist remarks regarding the drownings at Camber sands, please can you (a) confirm that these are just the racist remarks of an individual and that they do not reflect the views of the entire council? (b) confirm that you will actively implement an effective solution to protect your residents rather than blame their nationalities for your inaction? (23/12/2016) Q. Are you all stunningly racist or is just the ones involved in the camber sands report? (24/12/2016)

A. In recent years, there has been a change in the demographic of visitors to Camber with many more visitors from Asian communities than was previously the case.

On a busy summer's day, up to 25,000 people use the beach, which historically has a very good safety record, and we welcome visitors from all nationalities and backgrounds.

In recent years we have seen an increase in visitors - predominantly from Asian communities - either entering the sea with limited swimming capability or going into the water fully clothed, which dramatically increases their risk of getting into difficulty.

Of the nine recorded deaths at Camber since 2005 all except one have been Asian visitors and the two drowning victims prior to last summer's tragic events were Asian women who could not swim and entered the sea fully clothed.

In responding to this, measures were put in place to focus on those likely to enter the water fully clothed or of limited swimming ability and to forewarn them of the dangers of the sea.

The comments submitted in the incident log were factual statements referring to a general trend of a changing visitor profile using Camber beach. These comments were in no way intended to infer any blame on the seven men who tragically lost their lives last summer.

Our thoughts remain with the families of the victims and we would like to apologise for any distress or offence caused to them by the way in which these comments have been reported.

The Council is constantly improving and adapting its safety provision at Camber in light of the prevailing risks and available resources. The tragic events of last summer have significantly informed our future planning.

We are currently considering all options for additional safety measures at Camber, including the provision of a lifeguard service, and money has been earmarked in our 2017-18 budget to ensure funding is available to implement the agreed option.

Raising awareness of beach safety is an issue which needs to be addressed at a national level and we are continuing to work with the RNLI and other national bodies to this effect. (09/01/2017)


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