Over half a million people live in the county of Buckinghamshire. On average thirteen people are reported missing every day (Thames Valley Police recorded incidents). When a missing person is deemed to be high risk (of harm) police are able to call upon the support of nationally qualified teams of Search & Rescue volunteers.
Search Dogs Buckinghamshire was set up in 2008 and is one of the largest search dog teams in England, for Lowland Rescue. We currently have around 30 operational team members, over 10 qualified dogs and over 20 more in training.
Any search is always an emergency. The use of our air scenting and tracking dogs provide the quickest way of finding individuals. The ultimate goal of both dog and handler is to locate the missing person and reunite them with their family.
People we are called upon to search for include:
All our members are volunteers, most with full time jobs, and our dogs belong to their handlers. We assist Thames Valley Police and neighbouring teams in the search and safe recovery of missing vulnerable adults and children. Although 100% voluntary, our dogs and their handlers have to be nationally assessed and qualified in order to become operational.
So volunteering is not just about searching but about training constantly throughout the year, to maintain our standards. Training and live searching happens all year round, regardless of the weather. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Search Dogs Buckinghamshire is a registered charity and we do not benefit from any government or central funding. Our funding comes from donations and sponsorship and all our members pay their own costs. We use our funding for the specialist equipment needed to perform our voluntary role, such as first aid and safety equipment, radios, training and our jackets (the only piece of uniform).
The Association of Lowland Search & Rescue (ALSAR) is the governing body for all Lowland teams across the country.
The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme being introduced by the five Search & Rescue teams of Thames Valley in partnership with Thames Valley Police and other agencies which encourages carers to compile useful information that could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.
It is named after George Herbert a War veteran of the Normandy landings who lived with dementia and died while he was ‘missing’ on his way to his childhood home.
At the heart of the initiative is a questionnaire that family, friends or carers use to record a range of important information about the person being cared for. It is retained in a safe place by the family or carer so that it is immediately available to the Police and Search & Rescue teams in the event that the person goes missing. By completing the questionnaire in advance, it will not only speed up the time taken to gather this vital information but will also avoid putting additional stress on families and carers at a time when they are already worried about their loved one.
The form can be downloaded by clicking on this button:
Search and Rescue in numbers.
The ultimate goal of both dog and handler is to locate the missing person and reunite them with their family.
You can do so in one of many capacities. We are looking for suitable dogs for training, dog handlers, dog support, helpers, support, people to hide for the dogs (MISPERS) and fund-raisers.