Seventeen young people aged 12 to 17 have been given warnings about the dangers of jumping from bridges into Salford Quays.
The group, which included youngsters from Salford, Manchester, Trafford and Atherton, were identified using footage from Salford City Council’s network of CCTV cameras. They were caught as crowds gathered at the Quays during recent hot weather.
Greater Manchester Police went to their homes and spoke to their young people and their parents about the risks of cold water shock and unsupervised swimming in the area.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said the challenge was to change people’s attitudes to the activity.
“The problems with the Quays are not new and measures have been put in place to deal with them, but things have escalated this year because of the exceptionally hot weather and lockdown” he said.
“People see jumping from the bridges as just harmless fun that has gone on for generations but there are real dangers involved. Landing in cold water automatically sends your body into shock and leaves you gasping for air, putting you at risk of drowning. There may also be debris hidden beneath the surface and if people go deep underwater they could get caught and be unable to free themselves.
“We also need people to remember that Covid19 hasn’t gone away and the risk of spreading the virus by failing to observe social distancing is still very, very real.”
Salford City Council has targeted extra CCTV cameras at the Quays and wider area and council staff wearing body cameras will join police on patrols as warmer weather returns.
The council is also working with schools to send messages to parents and young people, supporting the Greater Manchester Safe4Summer campaign which includes water safety messages and is looking to boost signs around the Quays to make the rules and dangers crystal clear.
Youth service workers are also visiting the Quays regularly to discuss safety with young people. The Helly Hansen Watersports Centre has now re-opened offering a safe way to enjoy the water, with supervised watersports. Sessions start from Saturday 13 June and must be pre-booked online.