Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit are working with partners to deliver lifesaving training to waterside businesses.
The Community Responder Programme aims to give people working at premises such as bars and restaurants the skills to help people who may find themselves in trouble in the Tyne.
The joint initiative sees officers working with Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service to deliver the input.
The training is another tactic used to highlight water safety and how to stay safe.
Northumbria Police are also developing further training packages for Police Cadets and response officers to ensure they a best equipped when dealing with incidents in and around water.
Marine Unit Sergeant Suzanne Crossley said: “This initiative is a fantastic way to help provide key members of the public with ways to safely help people struggling in the water.
“It is also a great platform for us to reinforce our messages around water safety and awareness and keeping vulnerable people safe.
“It’s important for us to regularly asses how we deliver our training and what techniques we use. Within that we look at who could benefit most from it and how we can best support and protect the public.”
Those receiving the training will also be given a ‘throw bag’ which can be used to rescue someone in danger by pulling them to safety.
Nick Ayers, RNLI Community Safety Partner, said: “Our Community Responder Programme on the River Tyne saved lives last summer and we’re delighted to be working with Northumbria Police Martine Unit to ensure the local community are safe around the water this year.
“Our water safety training delivered with our partners not only provides staff with the knowledge and equipment to be able to save a life, but also instils confidence to be able to react quickly in a dynamic situation, such as someone jumping into the water. Research tells us that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream. The vibrant community working on the River Tyne is best placed to respond first to an emergency situation in the water and we urge other venues to sign up – their staff could help save more lives this year.”
Lynsey McVay, Area Manager for Community Safety at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “We work closely with our partners to deliver water safety training and advice across Tyne and Wear. We have also begun working closely with businesses that operate within close proximity to the River Tyne, we believe that this is key to ensuring that we reach as wide an audience as possible to raise awareness of the dangers of open water.
“We know from the throwbag training we did in conjunction with the RNLI with staff from By the River Brew Company – based beneath the Tyne Bridge on the Gateshead side, that four lives have already been saved which is fantastic.”
You can find out more about how to stay safe in the water here: https://rnli.org/