A team of volunteers, made up of police officers, retired firefighters and a mechanic, have launched the county’s first search and rescue team to help find missing people.
The Northamptonshire Search and Rescue Team took part in its first mission in Northampton at the weekend, with organisers likening the team to volunteer mountain rescue units.
The team is currently made up of 20 volunteers, who all give up their time for free, with 13 now being fully-trained to assist police. They will be called out to lend assistance when hunts for missing people are launched, including pensioners with dementia, suicidal people and missing hospital patients.
Secretary Robert Moore said: “Effectively we are the lowland variety of mountain rescue. Historically there has always been a gap in Northamptonshire and a lot of other neighbouring counties already have a team.
“We have a wide range of training; there is emergency training, map reading, compass work, first aid training and we have specialist search training, which is run along the same lines as the police search and rescue training.”
The team was called out for its first mission after a driver told police he may have hit a cyclist in the area of Upton Way, near the Danes Camp roundabout last Friday. A search was launched of the area, including the Grand Union Canal and River Nene, using the police helicopter.
However, after a media appeal the brother of a cyclist who was hit in Upton Way at about midnight on Friday night approached an officer in a supermarket to say he was okay.
Inspector John Lloyd said: “It appears he just got up afterwards and left the scene and was unsure of what to do in the circumstances.”
THE county’s first volunteer search team can “grow across the whole of the county”, organisers say. Most volunteers currently come from the north of the county, but the team hopes to grow in Northampton. The team also currently borrows equipment from neighbouring teams and is seeking donations and sponsorship, as well as additional volunteers from the Northampton area. Anyone who help can contact Robert Moore on 07940 739624.