Rob Cass gets out of his Land Rover with a little girl. A man comes rushing over, picks up the little girl, hugs her and says : “Thanks. Her mum’s in a right state”. Job done. Another missing child is reunited with her parents. But that is not the only problem on Camber Sands, which is why, in the central car park, you can find a police office next to the office of Rother District Council’s Coastal Officer Rob Cass.
In 2010 a young man was buried alive in the sand dunes, but other problems can include “domestic violence, alcohol and drug misuse, traffic issues, and public order scenarios” says Rob (second from the right in photo above). And that is why Rother funds “a joint operation with Sussex Police called Operation Radcott which guarantees on-site police officers throughout the summer to assist with the many police related incidents each year”.
At peak times, like now, he said they have to deal with up to 20 missing children per day, as well as several serious first aid incidents, so emergency services on call include paramedics, as well as HM Coastguard and the RNLI rescue boats – from Rye Harbour or Dungeness.
Rob said “our beach patrols operate from July to September on our beaches at Camber and Bexhill” and “at Camber we have nine team members whose job it is to advise, prevent and react to incidents beachside” Their tents (one is pictured below) can be clearly seen on the beach. “I manage all these aspects of our beach operation to ensure maximum safety and control during these intensely busy times” he said, of course very much in co-operation with the police and all the other emergency services.
When the weather is good, Camber pulls in hundreds of visitors from local caravan parks and holiday lets, as well as day trippers arriving at Rye by train and in Camber by bus from both directions, keeping the 100 and 101 buses very busy. Many arrive by car though and there can be long traffic jams, particularly on the bank holiday weekends. The recent tailbacks of long distance lorries from Dover on Kent’s roads do not seem to have affected the number of cars coming to Camber.
This keeps the police busy, as well as Rother’s car park attendants, and in past years heatwaves have brought thousands to Camber from London and Kent – as well as the odd American and British film crews and marriage parties, as the sand dunes and beach are a popular choice to film and to take photographs.
Photos : Ray Prewer