Force hosts family day for Search and Rescue Volunteers
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Leicestershire Search and Rescue team (LeicSAR) and their families were invited to Leicestershire Police headquarters yesterday (Sunday 29 September) for an afternoon of activities and demonstrations to thank them for their brilliant work.
The team are made up of highly trained search volunteers who turn out, whatever the time or day, to provide specialist resources to Leicestershire’s emergency services to assist in the search and rescue of vulnerable and missing people. The team have saved many lives and volunteer thousands of hours, working tirelessly to reunite families with their loved ones.
Sergeant Chris Haines is the Police liaison with the team and said: “We organised this day because we wanted to recognise not only the fantastic work that the team do helping us look for missing people, but also the impact this has on the members families. Their loved ones are called out at all times of the day or night, and can often be gone for a considerable time. Combined with the training commitment and the emotional support that they may need to give, the families are in many ways as important as the team members. We wanted them to know we appreciate their contribution.”
The event opened with an awards presentation where the team collectively received a Chief Superintendent’s award recognising the enormous amount of work they do in assisting the police to search for vulnerable missing people, and the endeavours of those who work behind the scenes organising, training and fundraising to keep the team operating.
Retiring team member Ian Silver received an award to recognise the incredible amount of fundraising he has carried out with the team, raising over £30000, alongside his work as a search technician and team leader.
Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach also attended to formally hand over a 4x4 vehicle he has kindly gifted to the team.
The group visited specialist departments around the site and received a number of inputs from the Dog Unit, Firearms Unit, Tactical Support Team, Traffic Unit and the Public order trainers. They were invited to try on various items of police kit, visit the police dog’s kennels and have a go at executing a forced entry in the training rig.
The event concluded with LeicSAR giving their own display to their families, showing them the new command unit and other equipment that they use.
Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This team does a wonderful job and I cannot thank them enough. They give their time and skill to help people and keep them safe from harm and I am proud to have supported them with both funding and equipment.
“LeicSAR works closely with the police and I appreciate that without them a great deal more police resources would be needed to search for people who are missing or lost.
“I know that funding is scarce and I’m delighted that I was able to give them this 4x4 vehicle which they urgently needed.
“Today’s event gave people the opportunity to learn about the work of this often unsung emergency service and I’m pleased that so many people turned up, it makes it very worthwhile.”
There are currently 48 members of LeicSAR who volunteer in a variety of different roles, from trained searchers to fundraisers. The team also have a nationally accredited air-scenting dog team and a specialist bike team, allowing them to quickly search large or rural areas. The team is fully self-sufficient and have worked hard to gain funding, training and equipment.
Simon Headley, Chairman of LeicSAR, said: “I would like to thank both Leicestershire Police and The Police and Crime Commissioner for their continued support of the team.
“Without the commitment of our dedicated search trained volunteers the team would not exist. Members put in thousands of hours responding to calls and training, so we are ready at a moment’s notice, to assist Leicestershire Police with missing person searches and bringing people’s loved ones home.
“The team are extremely proud to assist our communities and to put on the uniform and make a difference to people’s lives.
“Today’s family day is to say thank you the families of the team members of LeicSAR for all the support you give to your family members being called out at a moment’s notice and being away from home.
“The team works very closely with Leicestershire Police on joint training exercises and on operational deployments and we are very proud to work alongside them.
“The 4x4 vehicle launched today will enhance our search and rescue capability that we lost earlier in the year, this vehicle is vital in carrying personnel and essential live saving equipment to where it’s needed, often in rural areas of our city and county. We thank Leicestershire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for their support for the team.”