Rutland receives new mobile rescue unit
Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach joined heroic rescuers to celebrate the arrival of their new state-of-the-art mobile control centre.
The PCC was among a host of public safety workers and volunteers toasting the completion of Leicestershire Search and Rescue's (LeicSAR) new Incident Control Unit (ICU) which will help coordinate the search for missing and vulnerable people.
The two-year project, which has involved the conversion of a light commercial van into a fully equipped operational hub, was awarded £35,000 from the Commissioner's Prevention Fund.
As part of the launch, Willy Bach announced he was donating another ex-police vehicle, a 4x4 worth £6,000 which was otherwise destined for auction, to further support its life-saving work.
LeicSAR is a lowland search and rescue unit, run entirely by volunteers giving up their free time to assist the communities of Leicester Leicestershire and Rutland.
It provides specialist resources to the police and other emergency services in the search and rescue of vulnerable and missing people across Leicestershire and neighbouring counties when necessary.
With missing person investigations requiring a minimum of 36 officers' duty hours per 48-hour search, and costing in the region of £2,415, the service is a vital resource for Leicestershire Police's overstretched policing teams.
Lord Bach said: "I am absolutely delighted to unveil LeicSAR's mobile Incident Control Unit and give our hardworking rescuers the technological back-up they need to find vulnerable people quickly and safely."
"These people do a fantastic job keeping Leicestershire and Rutland safe and without them vast policing resources would be regularly diverted from our communities to facilitate these searches.
"This service is an asset to our county, and I will support the team in any way I can, including the gifting of this additional police vehicle to support their work. The skills and professionalism of Leicestershire's lowland rescuers is unrivalled, and I cannot thank them enough for sacrificing their time and lending their expertise."
Since the team launched in 2012, it has been using an ex-prison vehicle. However, the on-board equipment had deteriorated with age and the vehicle was no longer fit for purpose.
Following receipt of the PCC's grant, LeicSAR purchased a Ford Transit and turned to other Search and Rescue teams for help and advice on designing the new vehicle.
The ICU, which was converted by MV Tech, includes a mast through a special opening in the roof to assist with communications coverage in some of the most remote areas of the county.
The PCC provided LeicSAR with a two-year funding agreement, delivering £25,000 in 2017-18 and £10,000 in 2018-19.
The grant was part of the PCC's long-term community safety strategy and Police and Crime Plan pledge to protect vulnerable people, including those missing from home.
Simon Headley, Chairman of Leicestershire Search and Rescue, said: "We are delighted to unveil our new Incident Control Unit to Lord Bach and the PCC's office. The new ICU with its state-of-the-art mapping software and command and control functions will enable to the team to quickly and efficiently arrive at the scene and start to plan with the Police, SAR resources and utilising our Search and Rescue capability.
"The project was a significant project for Leicestershire Search and Rescue with a huge amount of work from the team over the two years to complete the project.
"However, the 4x4 vehicle donated by the PCC to LeicSAR was a fantastic surprise to LeicSAR when Lord Bach announced at the Incident Control Unit Launch that he would be donating the vehicle to us. This will give LeicSAR the lifesaving 4x4 capability that we lost earlier in the year. This vehicle will give us the capability to carry lifesaving equipment, transport teams to areas and hopefully locate a missing person.
"We thank Lord Bach for his continued support of Leicestershire Search and Rescue, his support enables us to carry on assisting Leicestershire Police and our communities in their time of need."