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Police urge people not to swim in open water during hot weather – Rickmansworth

31 Jul 2020
  • Don't be tempted to swim in open water to cool off because there are hidden dangers, say police

  • There have been recent reports of swimming in the River Colne in Rickmansworth

  • Swimming in certain bodies of water such as Rickmansworth Aquadrome is prohibited by law

Police in Rickmansworth are asking people not to swim in open water ahead of the sunny weekend weather forecast.

The Rickmansworth and Croxley Green Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) have seen a recent rise in reports of people swimming in the River Colne off Uxbridge Road, near to the weir.

SNT officers are currently working in partnership with Three Rivers District Council to address issues of anti-social behaviour on land adjacent to the weir.

Temperatures are set to soar above 30 degrees today (Friday) and while it may be tempting to cool off by taking a dip, police are asking people to think twice.

Detective Inspector Stewart Moulding, who leads all the SNTs across Three Rivers, said: “Not only is open water swimming prohibited in some bodies of water such as Rickmansworth Aquadrome, it also comes with some very real risks for the inexperienced and we are asking the public to refrain from swimming in rivers, canals and lakes this weekend.

“It is almost impossible to determine the dangers that lie beneath the surface; you could become entangled in weeds or rubbish, contract a waterborne disease or be overpowered by a strong undercurrent.

“Please, it’s not worth the risk. We really do not want to be knocking on your loved one’s door to give them devastating news about what would be an entirely preventable tragedy.”

The following advice about staying safe in a heatwave is from our emergency service partners at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service:

  • Even on a very hot day, the water can be freezing. As soon as you enter the water you can lose your breath and experience what is called cold water shock. It makes it hard for you to swim and can lead to drowning.
  • There are many unseen dangers when swimming in a river, lake or canal. You can never know what dangers lie beneath the surface of open water, so it's better to wait for swimming pools to be open, or investigate whether local groups in your area run guided open water swimming.
  • If you come across a water emergency, dial 999 straight away. Don’t attempt to get in to the water yourself to rescue someone – the chances are that you’ll need to be rescued too.
  • Know your location so you can tell emergency services where you are. A great way to do this is to download the what3words app, which divides the world into 3 metre squares giving each location a unique address which will help 999 call handlers pinpoint your exact location in the event of an emergency. Search for it in your app store or visit what3words.com.

For more information about staying safe this summer, please watch this video from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

From today (Friday 31 July) both the William Penn Leisure Centre in Mill End and the Watford Leisure Centre reopen their swimming pools to the public. Please book your session online here before visiting.

For those who want to try guided open-water swimming, you can do so for a small fee at the Merchant Taylors’ School in Rickmansworth. Find out more here.

You can report information online at herts.police.uk/report, talk to one of our Force Communication Room operators via web chat at herts.police.uk/contact, or call our non-emergency number 101.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

You can use our community voice platform ‘echo’ to let us know what you think we should be prioritising in your area. Your feedback will help towards shaping our local policing priorities, initiatives and campaigns. Visit bit.ly/police-threerivers and tell us what you think.

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