Humberside Police update:
When most people picture the police they likely think of blue lights and uniformed officers patrolling the streets, but what some may not realise is that we also have a specialist team to keep our waterways safe.
Based in our area but serving the whole of Yorkshire, our Underwater Search Unit deliver a 24-hour service for our teams and communities.
Consisting of a Police Sergeant and nine Police Constables, the team work tirelessly to provide advice and expertise for a wide variety of water-based incidents.
Their vast workload often helps teams across the four forces uncover vital evidence, revealing more information about what has happened in an incident. In some cases they actually discover the crucial final piece of evidence that leads to the charge and conviction of an offender.
Sadly, their work does sometimes involve more difficult situations, such as assisting in the search and recovery of a family’s loved one, who they have sadly lost in our waters.
The team have been in operation since 2012 and last year alone they attended over 330 incidents, covering a-number-of complex high-profile investigation.
Their work is hugely varied and any one day could include searching confined spaces, wading through water to find anything submerged or diving to search deeper waters.
Last year, they were deployed to recover several weapons thought to have been used in a recent crime. Whilst in attendance at the scene, it was established that the weapons had been disposed of down a narrow drain and were submerged under a thick layer of sludge.
It soon became apparent that the weapons needed to be recovered quickly, however entering the drain would put them in significant danger, they needed to come up with a safe plan and quickly.
Using creative thinking and their specialist equipment the team managed to attach a large magnet to a long piece of rope. Released into the well, the magnet pierced through the layer of sludge resulting in the safe recovery of components of several handguns, knives and other weapons.
Before joining the team, all underwater search officers have to complete a vigorous and thorough selection process. This involves fitness and competence tests, followed by an intense weeklong suitability assessment. As a part of that, they are required to complete a variety of scenario-based activities to ensure that they are suitable for the role.
Once selected, they then complete a two-month intensified programme required to obtain their 50-metre commercial dive certificate. This is followed up with regular training and maintenance once operational.
The team often see an increase in calls for service throughout the summer months, particularly last year as many flocked to beauty spots across the region to make the most of the weather in a summer staycation.
Whilst open water often looks inviting in the hotter months, it can be incredibly dangerous with hidden dangers that can turn a fun dip into a life-threatening, or even fatal, experience.
As the weather warms up, the team want to remind people to take care around the region’s rivers, lakes and coastlines to avoid putting yourself in any dangerous situations.
If you see someone fall into water, call 999. If you are near the coast ask for the coastguard, if you are inland ask for the fire service and ambulance.