I agree. There is always something to be said for charity fundraising and resources of that kind being raised, but, as hon. Members mentioned earlier, we cannot rely on that. More thought needs to be given to how we make it a lot more consistent and part of mainstream funding. It is lifesaving equipment and should not rely on charity alone.
There is not really an appropriate offence to cover such crimes—I would call them crimes—as tampering with lifesaving equipment. At the moment, there are various things that local authorities can do. A recent incident in the Salford Quays prompted the authorities there to use a public spaces protection order, available under the law in England, to prevent people from interfering with safety equipment, but this only incurs a £90 fine—£60 if paid in 10 days. Apparently, this could end up in court if those fines are not paid, but that still seems not to get the balance quite right, given the gravity of what people are doing here. After all, this is lifesaving equipment. The Manchester Evening News reported that the cost to Salford Council of replacing the equipment and making the system more secure was £34,000—money that would not have to be spent if people did not engage in such mindless behaviour.
Turning to my asks of the Minister, I seek to find out if more can be done to catalogue the availability of water safety equipment, to ensure that as many watercourses as possible can have the reassurance of access to life-saving equipment. The UK Government could also carry out assessments to understand the extent to which damage is being caused and any hotspots. I have noted in my research and by speaking to people such as—
Motion lapsed (
Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—(Rebecca Harris.)