Durham police chief says it 'ludicrous' to put extra officers near riverbanks 'to stop bright young things falling in' after three drownings

Durham police chief says it 'ludicrous' to put extra officers on riverbanks ‘to stop bright young things falling in’ after three drownings

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The Independent Online

Durham’s police chief has dismissed calls for extra officers to patrol the banks of the River Wear after three students drowned within a 14 month period.

Durham University said it will take action after Sope Peters, 20, Luke Pearce, 19, and last month Euan Coulthard, also 19, died in the River Wear after nights out in the city.

A week after Mr Coulthard's body was found by a diver, police and fire officers pulled a 20-year-old student out of the river. He was treated in hospital for hypothermia.

The university vowed to take action to improve student safety and tackle “excessive alcohol consumption” with alcohol education programmes and volunteer schemes.

But Durham’s chief constable has insisted he will not be providing any more officers to patrol the area, claiming it would be “ludicrous” to do so just to stop “bright young things” falling in.

Mike Barton told the BBC: "One thing connected these three young men who died in the river and that was they were so paralytically drunk they were not in control of their bodies.

He said the students had then "walked or stumbled" into the river.

"What we need to look at is the personal responsibility of young men and women who are coming away to university, starting their lives and who need to behave a bit more socially responsibly.

"I was incensed when I heard some representatives of the student body saying the answer is for more police officers.

"It is ludicrous that society is asking me to put police officers on the riverbank to stop bright young things falling in. What sort of world have we come to?"