One of Scotland’s most popular journalists and television personalities has used a weekly newspaper column to express concerns over jobs being lost at three Moray swimming pools.
Jackie Bird used her weekly article in the Sunday Mail to highlight Moray Council’s plans to install close-circuit television cameras at public pools in Buckie, Keith and Forres.
Public concerns have already been raised at the plans revealed last week after agreement was reached in the council chamber to install the cameras at a cost of around £45,000 – with the local authority insisting they will improve safety for swimmers and save around £23,000 each year.
Fears over the use of the cameras were expressed by a number of insideMoray readers since the announcement – and these were reflected by Ms Bird in her newspaper column.
She said: “Moray Council’s decision to install underwater CCTV in their swimming pools has been criticised for invading people’s privacy.
“Personally, I’m more concerned about the cameras if they are planning to use them as replacement lifeguards.”
The local authority has admitted that the projected savings from the installations will come from a reduction in the number of lifeguards required to monitor swimmers.
However, they insist that fears over invasion of privacy are misguided, as no recordings would be made and the video would only be monitored by professional lifeguards.
Ms Bird said that the installation of the cameras reminded her of her childhood and swimming baths in East Kilbride: “It had a huge viewing window at the front desk which looked through to the deep end of the pool like a human fish tank.
“It enabled visitors to ogle the assorted semi-naked lower halves of the swimmers as they bobbled past.
“I presume the architect is now helping Operation Yewtree with their inquiries – was it really a pervert’s paradise or were those just far more innocent times?”