by Baron Halpenny, LincsMag Editor-in-Chief.
Date: 08 June 2010
The Police Underwater Search Unit is a specialist unit of the police, which is often overlooked or little thought about by the members of the public, and yet is an important key element in many a police operation where water is concerned, be it ponds, lakes, rivers or the sea.
The Lincolnshire Police Underwater Search Unit was originally formed in 1963 but was then known as the Lincolnshire Police Frogman Unit, which was comprised of two separate teams, one being based in the north of Lincolnshire and the other in the south of the County.
Over the period of time the Underwater Search Unit has changed with the original two teams now being merged into one unit that today consists of one part-time team of around ten officers and this unit is based permanently at the Lincolnshire Police Headquarters, Deepdale Lane, Nettleham, Lincoln.
All the officers on the team are serving police officers and, for much of the time, perform a variety of roles within the Force.
The Underwater Search Unit has its own vehicle, specially converted for the role. The vehicle has storage facilities for diving equipment, a galley and even a shower, enabling the unit to operate independently anywhere within the county.
The unit has two inflatable boats with outboards engines to carry out searches of Lincolnshire’s many inland waterways.
Though the Underwater Search Unit is now with a part-time team, the standards are all kept high and totally professional with all the divers being fully trained to HSE Standards at either the Newcastle or Glasgow National Police Diving and Marine Schools and Lincolnshire Police Officers in the unit continue to receive regular refresher training to keep them sharp and up to date with the latest techniques.
All divers are subject to highest rigorous medical and fitness examinations.
The overall main role of the Lincolnshire Police Underwater Search Unit is to support operational police officers in recovering evidence from under water; this includes, stolen property, vehicles and weapons, as well as the gruesome task of also recovering bodies.
Being an officer in the Underwater Search Unit, as indeed in many of the operational police units, is not for the faint hearted.
The officers of the Underwater Search Unit are specially trained to carry out under water recoveries forensically, which thereby secures the evidence for use by investigation teams.