Sandi Starfish returning to beaches to keep children safe
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Sandi Starfish is returning to Heacham and Hunstanton this summer to help families keep their children safe.
Parents and carers are being encouraged to take a photo of their child as soon as they arrive at the beach on their smartphone or digital camera, and make a note of exactly where they arrived on the beach.
They are also being urged to consider using the what3words app, which provides a simple and precise way to share your location quickly and easily with emergency services.
Insp Diana Woodage of Hunstanton police said: "Lots of families visit our beautiful coastline during the summer holidays to enjoy our beautiful beaches.
"By taking a photo on your phone or digital camera of your child as soon as you arrive, you'll have an up-to-date photo showing exactly what they're wearing should you need to show to officers if you become separated.
"Remembering exactly when you accessed the beach and where you've been sitting could also be extremely helpful for the emergency services should you need our help. Children do occasionally wander off and although the vast majority of missing children are found very quickly, it is still a traumatic experience.”
Sandi Starfish was launched in 2014 following an idea from Norfolk Constabulary's former PCSO Sandi Greenacre.
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Insp Woodage said: "Sandi saw how distressing it can be when parents and children become separated, and was keen to help families stay safe on the beach. Very sadly, Sandi passed away in 2013 so I'm delighted that this scheme is still helping families and continuing Sandi's legacy.”
The area from South Beach in Heacham to Holme-next-the-Sea is being divided into 10 Sandi Starfish Zones. Details have been shared with the police control room, West Norfolk council, the coastguard and RNLI.
What3words has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares the grid has been integrated into Norfolk police's computer aided despatch system. More information on what3words is available at www.what3words.com.
Police also advise familiarising children with the beach environment, including where they can and cannot go and agreeing a meeting point in case you become separated.
If you become separated, you should call 999, stay in the spot where the child last saw you and remain on the phone until police arrive.