“My cousin Kevin came up with the idea of the Beach Patrol in 2015; we’re both quite passionate about preventing deaths from drink drowning.” So says Louise Roberts, as she tells me about the origins of this family affair with Kevin Roberts, the Managing Director of Resolve Security, which patrols many of the seafront pubs and clubs.
“Resolve donated the quad bike, first-aid kit and training. Sussex Heart Foundation kindly donated a defibrillator. But I soon realised that it’s not just about keeping people out of the sea when they’re intoxicated; it’s about giving people support and a chat with a mum figure.”
If Louise tracked me down on her quad bike and told me going in the sea was a bad idea, I’d be putting my clothes back on sharpish. But apparently this isn’t always the case. What does she say to someone who’s already in their pants?
“Typically, I’ll go down and say, ‘Hey guys, why are you getting undressed?’” she replies with characteristic nonchalance. “I just engage with them and, without dictating, give them the facts about going into the water – even if it’s a really calm sea. Many tell me they used to be a lifeguard, that they’re a good swimmer – which, they probably are – but not at 3am when they’re drunk. If they ignore me, I’ll stay till they’re safe.”
The now three-strong crew patrols the Lower Promenade – between the Pier and the i360 – every Friday and Saturday night from 11pm-5am, and they’re linked into support crews from HM Shoreham Coastguard, the RNLI and Sussex Police. But the Beach Patrol is often the first to highlight any problems. At the risk of sounding stupid, I ask ‘why is it worse to get in the water when you’re drunk?’ ... [read more]
For more information about Brighton Beach Patrol – or to support them – contact Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org