Search teams need new volunteers

Midshires Search and Rescue
Midshires Search and Rescue

A search team made up of volunteers who helped work with the police to find missing Linslade man Neil Devlin are appealing for more volunteers.

Midshires Search and Rescue assisted the police in most of the searches by providing personnel specialised in search techniques.

They are a charitable organisation similar to Mountain Rescue with highly trained volunteers on constant stand by to assist the emergency services in a variety of situations in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.

The group is seeking new members particularly from the Leighton Buzzard area to join their 25 active Search Technicians, 13 trainees, 4 support people, and a dozen dormant members, inactive due to personal circumstances.

Nick Murphy, training officer for Midshires, said: “We assisted the police on three occasions searching for Neil Devlin, during which we received great support and gratitude from the local community.

“We are keen to recruit new members from west Bedfordfordshire where we are underrepresented.

“Specialist Technicians undergo a two day basic training course followed by a 3 to 6months probationary status during which they will do a day course in first aid, a day’s course in navigation. coupled with two evenings of theory and a Sunday afternoon practical training exercise each month.

“Once qualified the technicians can elect to train for water bank searches, swift water technicians and flood responder technicians. Some of our members recently assisted in the floods in Surrey.

“In addition we have trained Team Leaders, Search Planners and Search Operations managers capable of planning and organising a search independent of the Police is so requested.”

Nick, who has been with Midshires for six years as a Specialist search Technician and latterly as the Group’s Training Officer, added: “Those joining the group will be trained to a high standard and learn to work closely in a team. They will provide a service to the local community.

“They will get an enormous sense of satisfaction in participating in searches for missing people and elation when finding a person alive and well.

“For relatives of a person who is missing we provide some comfort in them knowing that there are dedicated people out looking for their loved one.

“They will develop camaraderie with fellow members and will increase their circle of friends.

“They can put existing skill to good use be it in active searches or in a admin support role associated with promotional events, fundraising, grant applications, IT, social media and so on.”