Life-saving equipment by-law bid wins praise for councillor

A CAMPAIGNING councillor with a “desire to bring about meaningful change in his community” has been praised for spearheading new draft local laws to protect life-saving equipment from being tampered with or damaged.

Cllr Adam Tinsley has worked with the family of teenager Sam Haycock, who drowned after jumping into Ulley Reservoir last May, on the accessibility of throw lines, after relatives set up a campaign group to call for more safety equipment at open water sites.

He successfully campaigned for defibrillators in his Maltby ward, as well as new housing developments, and helped Healthwatch Rotherham with a report into the availability of the heart-starting kits in Rotherham town centre earlier this year.

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Cllr Tinsley submitted a motion to a full council meeting on November 30 asking RMBC to draft a by-law for areas including the protection of life-saving equipment from being damaged or interfered with.

He told the meeting that by-laws are local legislation which govern what can and cannot be done in public spaces.

The fine for contravening them can be displayed on notice boards and enforced by local authority or police officers who can also escalate it to the magistrates’ court.

Cllr Tinsley said: “I’ve heard stories locally of these (defibrillators) being stolen or simply taken out of cabinets and thrown on top of the roofs of buildings.”

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He said a bylaw could be “both be a deterrent and an extra tool for police and council officers to use under their discretion”.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Zach Collingham who told the meeting: “It comes down to his (Cllr Tinsley’s) particular desire to bring about meaningful change in his community.

“It’s all about local laws that we can make, here in Rotherham, tailored to Rotherham, that can actually make a difference.

“They don’t replace national laws, they add to them and we’ve all had situations where police or council officers have said to us: ‘There’s this behaviour going on, we wish we could do something about it but it’s just on the right side of the letter of the law’ or ‘There’s currently no particular offence we can get them on in this particular scenario’. “This is the answer to some of those situations.

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“It’s not a silver bullet, it won’t deal with all of them, but it’s a tool for police and council officers to use, another one for the toolbox.”   

Independent councillor Michael Bennett-Sylvester also praised Cllr Tinsley, saying that “taking the politics out of it”, the young councillor was clearly driven by an “absolute passion” in this case.

He added: “I know he’s been in conversation with the Haycock family in connection with this which has been very welcome and I believe they have been very supportive.

“I’d like to credit Cllr Tinsley and thank him for the work he’s been doing.”  

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Conservative councillor Simon Ball described it as “a win-win”, adding: “It helps us protect the residents of Rotherham.

“We can’t be going to damaged defibrillators and throwlines any more.

“It arms the police to a certain extent with local officers saying they can’t do anything — this then backs them up with what they can do.”

The motion and unanimously agreed and carried by RMBC after an amendment by Labour councillors.



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