A COUNCIL looks set to install underwater detection cameras in one of its swimming pools to improve safety.

Hambleton District Council’s cabinet will hear the authority’s upgrade plans for community sporting facilities in Stokesley include spending £60,000 on the drowning prevention technology to help “the safety and efficiency of lifeguarding arrangements”.

Such systems see lifeguards given monitors providing views of below water swimmer activity. Lifeguards’ attention is drawn to any possible developing incident through a series of alerts.

As well as scanning the surface of the water lifeguards allot about three seconds of their time to check their individual monitor for developing incidents or unusual swimmer behaviour.

A report to the cabinet of the council, which also has swimming pools in Thirsk, Northallerton and Bedale, states the “cameras will provide some marginal employee cost savings from 2020/21 as a key feature of the system allows for ‘blended lifeguarding’, whereby lifeguard patrols and the camera system will be fully harmonised to improve bather safety”.

It adds: “Digital systems are used across many UK swimming pools to excellent effect, improving safety whilst also helping to address the shortfall in qualified lifeguards in the country.”

Operators of swimming pools in other areas say they have been forced to rope off parts of pools to reduce surface areas lifeguards have to monitor to address the national shortage of lifeguards.

The scheme also includes ambitions for a £800,000 3G pitch, up to £1.5m for a sports hall, an improved gym and cycling studio and improved shower areas.