Police search managers train with USAR colleagues in Devon

National Resilience based at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service (DSFRS) have facilitated six training scenarios for Devon and Cornwall Police search managers. Devon and Cornwall Police have at present 200 fully trained search officers and to ensure that all remain in licence they are required to attend two refresher days a year.

Colin Sharp, National Resilience Watch Manager, DSFRS, said, “The training is part of the Devon and Cornwall Police’s Continual Professional Development (CPD) for their search manager qualification. It gives them an understanding on a base level of what a confined space is as well as familiarisation on what National Resilience and the frontline fire service response do on this type of incident.

“All the police dive team have been fully search management trained in confined space and we’re recently worked with them on an incident in a mine. These training exercises give an awareness to the police what we bring to the mix as well as improve working relationships.”

Paul Kearton, Force Search Advisor, Devon and Cornwall Police, explained, “The search training varies from counter terrorist, explosive devices, to missing persons and firearms. Today the training is about searching in collapsed structures, vehicles and confined spaces. Colin Sharp has spoken to our team on safe systems of work and his team have very kindly constructed scenarios that the officers would not normally be able to experience.”

As in a real incident the collapsed structures were made safe by National Resilience and the police search officers then looked for items of property that may relate to the course of the collapse as well as personal items that identify the causalities involved in the incident.

Paul continued, “For the officers searching it’s about working on their team leadership communication skills as these environments are much more challenging than what they normally search in.

“We work with National Resilience a lot on live searches and as we are both small highly skilled teams, the more we train together the easier it is when we all meet up on the same incident.”

Dave Norris, Crew Manager Alpha Watch, DSFRS, said, “Today has been a good opportunity for the police search teams to find out what USAR do before they turn up. This involves scene assessment, making collapsed structures safe and providing them information to assist in their search.”