PCC joins missing person rescue teams in Sussex
Sussex Police are investigating an increasing number of missing people every year. Since 2018 the number has doubled from around 4,500 to over 9,500. This means that our volunteer search teams are becoming increasingly important.
On Saturday (19/10/2019) Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne joined Search Dogs Sussex and Sussex Search and Rescue on one of their largest missing person training exercises. With almost 50 volunteers and numerous trained dogs, they dramatically simulated a real-life callout in Pephurst Wood.
Formed in 2003 after the disappearance and murder of schoolgirl Sarah Payne, these volunteers are now on call 24 hours a day to support police and emergency services when looking for other vulnerable missing people.
Mrs Bourne comments: “These teams do really important work. They make the difference between life and death. Around 30 people a day go missing across Sussex and volunteers alleviate some of the pressure this places on police resources. I am really impressed with the total dedication and enthusiasm shown by all here today. Sussex is really fortunate to have so many trained and dedicated volunteers available to help out in emergencies.”
Sussex Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “We are so grateful to all of the volunteers who help to release our officers to do other things.”
All volunteers are capable of deploying at any time of day or night, in all weather conditions and terrain.
Darren Yeates, Dog Handler Search Dogs Sussex said: “On average we are called upon for help 25-30 times a year, commonly searching for people with mental health problems, dementia and learning disabilities.
"The dogs are particularly valued because they use scent to locate missing people which means they can find people who are out of sight.
“When you find a missing person, whatever the situation, it brings closure to the families.”