The Yorkshire and the Humber Underwater Search & Marine Unit is launched today with a demonstration dive taking place at Hull Marina to mark the occasion.
The unit, based in Humberside, is made up of a dedicated team of one police sergeant and nine specially trained police officers who will deliver the service on a full time basis to all four police forces of Yorkshire and the Humber.
It is just one of a number of already established units set up through Policing Yorkshire and the Humber, to maintain force capabilities at a time when significant budget reductions have to be made. The new unit will deliver savings in the region of £400,000 per year; money that forces can reinvest into protecting local frontline resources.
Work on developing the unit began back in November 2011 when the four Chief Constables agreed to the idea of a single Underwater Search and Marine Unit. Detailed research at the time identified that the three forces with their own in-force Underwater Search capability, South Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police and Humberside Police, together spent over £1m per year on maintaining the provision. 28 officers worked within the three separate units but only five of them performed the role on a dedicated, full-time basis; the remaining 23 being employed in other duties when not fulfilling their underwater search role.
Speaking of the Unit, Head of Collaboration for Policing Yorkshire and the Humber, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Whyman said:
"The new four-force Underwater Search capability is a welcome addition to our portfolio of operational units. Not only is it providing all four forces with access to a dedicated full time team, but costs associated with training and equipment have also been optimised so that the same level of specialist search and recovery support delivered prior to today can still be maintained.
"I am confident that the public will not see any difference in service levels, and that the £400,000 saved through creating a full time team will go support their local neighbourhood policing and response teams."
For more information contact:
Regional Media & Marketing Manager
Policing Yorkshire & the Humber
Tel: 0113 285 5396
Mob: 07525 233 488
Monday 10 September