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Police and Crime Commissioner awards £20,000 to Search and Rescue Teams across the Thames Valley

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, has awarded £20,000 of funding to three Lowland Search & Rescue Teams and two Search Dog Teams in the Thames Valley.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley has awarded £20,000 of exceptional funding to five Search and Rescue Teams across the Thames Valley. This funding will be used to support a range of areas including advanced mapping systems and equipment for Search Technicians.

Berkshire Lowland Search & Rescue, Buckinghamshire Search & Rescue and Lowland Rescue Oxfordshire have each received £5,000 to fund the costs of MAPYX and assist with running costs. MAPYX is an advanced mapping system, which the Search Units have adopted to assist with planning missing person searches. It also enables the Search Teams to share maps digitally, and send out live track texts to lost/vulnerable missing persons.

Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs and Search Dogs Buckinghamshire have each received £2,500 to assist in the teams running costs, as well as equipment for the Search Dogs and Technicians.

Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “I am delighted to have been able to award this funding to five organisations who provide regular assistance to Thames Valley Police in the search of vulnerable, missing persons.

“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that some organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to secure funding. I am therefore delighted to be able to award this exceptional funding to help support these organisations and, in turn, keep our communities safe.”

Thames Valley Police Deputy Chief Constable Jason Hogg, said: “We are very pleased that this award has been approved and hope that the funding will help Lowland Search & Rescue and the search dog teams to continue their great work with Thames Valley Police and other partners.

“These are volunteer organisations and the assistance they have provided to Thames Valley Police in a number of missing persons investigations has, on many occasions, been paramount to successful outcomes.

“We will continue to work with their teams, who will continue to provide valuable support to the force in the future.”

Teresa Archer, Vice Chair of Lowland Search & Rescue, added: "This funding award is excellent news for the five Thames Valley Lowland Rescue teams, at a time when all of our teams have suffered significant fundraising losses over the last year.

“All Lowland Rescue teams are independent charities and are available 24/7 to support their police forces in searching for vulnerable missing people.

“Most of them receive little or no secure funding to cover the annual running costs needed to maintain that availability and this grant will significantly help the Thames Valley teams.

“By making this award, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner has demonstrated his commitment to Lowland Rescue teams across Thames Valley and that their service and partnership work with Thames Valley Police is truly valued.”

Funding received by all five Search & Rescue Teams has been largely secured through the Police Property Act Fund (PPAF). The Fund, jointly managed by the PCC and the Chief Constable, is created from money recovered by the police and the proceeds from the sale of items that cannot be returned to identified owners, including seizures from criminals.

Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, all five Search Teams remain as busy as any other year. They continue to respond to high-risk missing person calls, with a number of high-profile cases making national news.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Exceptional funding

The Police and Crime Commissioner has access to some limited, additional funding from the Home Office, Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Police Property Act Funds (PPAF) and other grants. This funding is used as an opportunity for the PCC to support innovation, new ideas and opportunities such as one-off exceptional activities and pilot projects.