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Concerns about anti-drowning cameras filming swimmers at new Dover Leisure Centre pool

By Beth Robson

Officials have attempted to downplay concerns about the installation of cameras at the new Dover District Leisure Centre swimming pool.

Peter Ward, a long-term campaigner for a new facility and member of the Dover Leisure Centre Project Advisory Group, shared worries from swimmers yesterday.

He said: “People on social media have been asking about cameras that are going in the pool, and they are concerned about it and what purposes they are for.”

Dover Leisure Centre artist's impression
Dover Leisure Centre artist's impression

But Richard Thompson of Hadron Consulting – one of the firms involved in the £26 million project – said they are actually part of a system to prevent people from dying in the water.

He responded: “They are drowning detection systems – they (the images) are only visible by lifeguards. It’s a life-saving device.”

Mr Thompson went on to explain police-checked lifeguards will have small screens on their observation chairs to give them the opportunity to check if anyone is in difficulty.

How the exterior of Dover Leisure Centre will look
How the exterior of Dover Leisure Centre will look

Places for People, which has been given a 12-year contract to manage the new leisure centre, said the footage would be “locked away” except in the event of reviewing an incident.

Cllr Peter Walker (Lab) welcomed the new technology, adding: “I think it’s a good thing.

“There have been incidents in the UK where bodies have been found at the bottom of the pool. This could avoid that situation.”

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