Popular seaside scheme returns to Hunstanton helping families keep their children safe
Inspector Ben Jarvis at Hunstanton Police Station said: "Lots of families visit Hunstanton during the summer holidays to enjoy our beautiful beaches.
"By taking a photo on your phone or digital camera of your child standing next to Sandi 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. Occasionally that does happen 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, who was a valued member of the team in Hunstanton. It's supported by the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.
Inspector Jarvis 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.”
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk and Cabinet Member for Culture, Heritage and Health, said: "We are pleased to be supporting the Sandi Starfish campaign again this year.
"Thankfully we don't get many lost children, but when it happens, it can be distressing for both the parent and the child. This scheme can really help speed up reuniting a lost child with their family.”
You can find Sandi Starfish figures at the beach patrol hut on the promenade in Hunstanton town, as well as on the beach below the Cliff Top car park and another near the RNLI lifeboat station in Old Hunstanton with kind permission from the le Strange Estate. Each location will be marked with a Sandi Zone number.
Families will be encouraged to make a note of the number of their zone that they can share with police should they become separated from their child.
There isn't a wristband scheme in operation this year.
Helpful tips for families planning a trip to the beach also include:
· Familiarise your child with the beach environment – show them where they can and can't go.
· Agree a meeting point – choose a location on the beach where you agree to meet if you become separated.
· Take a photo of your child on your phone or digital camera as soon as you arrive at the beach. In the event they wander off, you can show the photo to officers so they know who they are looking for. It's vital to remember what your child is wearing. Bright, eye catching clothing is ideal.
If you become separated:
· Call 999 – a missing child is an emergency.
· Remain calm – stay in the spot where the child last saw you.
· Stay on the phone to emergency services until police arrive.