Underwater cameras installed at Harpenden swimming pool
A NEW high-tech underwater camera safety system has been installed at Harpenden swimming pool despite there being no prior consultation with residents, or any recent incidents to cause alarm.
The �22,000 system was put in by St Albans district council (SADC) to help improve pool safety and reduce the risk of injury and drowning.
A similar system will be installed in the new Westminster Lodge swimming pool, due to be completed in 2012.
Monitors attached to the lifeguard’s chair display eight underwater views allowing them to observe the full water volume within the pool. Images are protected and managed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
The council said the high-tech cameras are used in many public swimming pools around the country.
However a spokeswoman for the University of Hertfordshire in neighbouring Hatfield said there was no such technology in its pool.
A spokesman for Watford Borough Council said the authority’s two pools also did not have the system. However swimmers there have asked for one to be installed so they could use it to monitor and improve their technique in the water.
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Underwater cameras have been highlighted in the media for helping to save swimmers, including a 10-year-old girl who fell unconscious at the bottom of the deep end in a pool in Wales. A lifeguard who was alerted immediately rescued her.
The gadgets have also been linked to helping catch a pervert swimmer who assaulted a teenager at a busy pool in Liverpool.
A spokeswoman for SADC said the primary aim of the system is to reduce any risk of injury or drowning.
She went on: “The system by its nature is also likely to act as a deterrent for unsociable behaviour. If any behaviour of this nature should be identified, we would take appropriate action.”
The spokeswoman said that a sign at the pool’s reception area warns customers about there being a close circuit television in operation.
She added that while SADC is not aware of any recent incidents at the pool within the last year, “it is not the council’s policy to consult the public on every health and safety measure we put in place to protect them.”
Cllr for Harpenden North John Chambers said he had spoken to a dozen residents to gauge local opinion on the cameras, all of whom said it was a sensible idea that would make swimming safer.