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As part of Drowning Prevention week, PCC John Campion is raising awareness of water safety and the importance of education in order to prevent tragedies.

According to statistics from the National Water Safety Forum, there were 659 reported fatalities across the UK last year. In West Merica, the PCC wants to ensure the safety of all residents around water across the three counties, with one life lost being one too many,

To deliver on his commitment, the PCC has invested almost £80,000 in the prevention and education services provided by Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA) and West Mercia Search and Rescue (WMSAR).

The Home and Dry water safety network driven by the PCC continues to operate, with investment provided for dedicated educational resources to improve the way children and young people are taught about water safety. These resources can be downloaded by teachers and professionals.  

With an investment of £60,000 from the PCC over the past three years, the world-class voluntary team for the WMSAR charity have been able to continue providing a rescue service for the emergency services, as well as being able to focus on training to deliver more safety education to residents of West Mercia.

The PCC has also provided funding to SARA to the tune of £18,000 from April 2022 to March 2025, which is providing an uplift in trained water rescuers who will focus primarily on searching for missing persons in water, conducting flood rescue and supporting operations.

The PCC said: “One life lost in in the water, is one too many. I believe the most effective way to reduce harm on our waters is through prevention and education to ensure the residents of our communities stay safe.

“I will therefore continue to support these organisations to ensure more people understand the dangers and we can prevent water deaths.”

“The additional funding for these two organisations, has already had a significant impact on keeping the residents of West Mercia safe now and in the future.”

Marcel LeCocq, Chairman for WMSAR said: “The funding the PCC provides helps West Mercia Search and Rescue to maintain its Free educational water safety programme.

 “The Home and Dry online course has been completed by over 30,000 people, a programme highlighting the risks posed by inland waterways, the effects of cold-water shock and drowning and basic rescue techniques for the public. Open to anyone, this course provides a certificate of participation upon completion.  

“We see higher uptake in summer months when a number of local schools and colleges sign up their students to take the course as part of their course work.

“We have continued to promote water safety and throwline training via talks at schools & youth groups. And by attending various summer fayres, village carnivals throughout the West Mercia region, where we encourage the basic use of throwlines as a way of further engagement with the community.”

Richard Newhouse, Chief Finance Officer and Water Rescue Instructor for the Severn Area Rescue Association said: “For SARA, the consistent annual funding from the PCC has been incredibly helpful in allowing us to build and maintain sufficient water rescue protective equipment FOR our rescue stations in the West Mercia area.

“This has enabled us to deploy small teams proactively to known accident hotspots, as well as providing a professional standard of response to the significant flooding we have seen and to other inland water incidents.  

“We love the water, and we want to enable others to enjoy the water, safely.”

For more information on the Home and Dry Campaign, including links to the educational resources for professionals and to the online course visit: Home and Dry – West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner (