Procedures ‘tightened’ after Scout walk death

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A SENIOR Scout Association official said child-counting procedures had been tightened after a six-year-old boy died during a supervised woodland walk.

Alan Lock drowned after getting into the River Stour in Sudbury, Suffolk, in June 2009, an inquest heard in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.

The boy was one of 18 Beaver Scouts being supervised by four adults on a walk through woods near the river.

Coroner Peter Dean, who recorded an open verdict after a three-day hearing, heard that Alan’s disappearance was not spotted for more than 30 minutes.

He was told that one “head count” was taken, just after the start of the 45-minute outing, and that the most senior leader involved did not know how many children were taking part .

The inquest also heard that supervisors had read risk assessments written about the walk.

Scout Association District Commissioner Stephen Dodd said: “Since the tragedy the Scout Association has reflected significantly on the head-counting guidance procedures that are issued to leaders. We now have, within the association, much clearer guidance.”