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Specialist support will now be on hand for police officers searching for missing people in difficult environments, thanks to a new agreement between Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS).
The two emergency services have signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’, allowing the force to call upon the LFRS’ Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team when searching for people reported missing.
As part of the agreement, officers will have access to the team 24 hours a day on a call out basis, assisting police search advisors in difficult environment, such as water, at height or in confined spaces, as well as providing additional support when searching in large rural areas.
Sergeant Shane Luck, a search advisor from the force’s Tactical Support Team, said: “We currently utilise police officers, along with the invaluable assistance of Leicestershire and Rutland Search and Rescue Volunteers, to search for missing people.
“This can sometimes require the deployment of a large number of officers, which can in turn put extra strain on our resources in carrying out other policing duties.
“With the LFRS specialist team joining us we will be able to increase our search numbers, as well as improving our specialist search capability for all environments.
“For every missing report our aim is to locate the person safe and well. Being able to call upon the team to assist us will increase the chances of this.”
Chris Parsons, technical rescue and USAR manager, said “We are pleased to be able to assist Leicestershire Police with this initiative to enhance their current search capabilities with an aim to bring an early and successful conclusion to these types of incidents.
“Within LFRS we have a team of 30 USAR technicians for which we receive national funding, so to utilise their skills in a wider arena and work in closer partnership with other blue light responders will provide a better and more efficient service to the communities we serve.”