Police commissioner praises volunteer rescue service

THE county’s police and crime commissioner has applauded the contribution to the community of Surrey Search and Rescue volunteers, who recently celebrated their 1,000th call-out.

Commissioner Lisa Townsend and her deputy, Ellie Vesey-Thompson, saw the team in action when they joined a training exercise on the downs near Guildford.

A Surrey Search and Rescue vehicle on the bank of the River Thames, with Walton Bridge in the background

The event, at Newlands Corner, simulated a search for a missing person in woodland.

Surrey SAR, whose headquarters is based in Woking, is made up entirely of volunteers who help the emergency services in finding missing people, particularly vulnerable adults and children. The organisation relies on donations to pay for life-saving equipment and the training of more 70.

The commissioner’s office provides it with an annual sponsorship grant and has also helped fund one of the team’s control vehicles.

Surrey SAR is on call 24 hours a day to operate in countryside and urban areas. It has specialist teams for water rescues, search dogs and uses drones to help during searches.

Surrey Search and Rescue recently marked their 1,000th call out

Since being formed in 2010, the volunteers have turned out 1,000 times to incidents across the county. Last year alone, they gave nearly 5,000 hours of their time, making them one of the busiest lowland rescue teams in the UK.

Mrs Townsend said: “Searching for missing people can often be a race against time, which is why the role Surrey Search and Rescue plays to support our emergency services across the county is so vital.

“They respond to incidents which really can be a life or death situation where someone could be at their most desperate. That is why they deserve the thanks of all of us for volunteering their time to carry out the amazing work they do.

“It was fascinating to see the team in action at the exercise. Although it was only a brief glimpse of the challenges they face, I was really impressed with the professionalism and dedication they displayed.”

For more information on the work of Surrey Search and Rescue, visit www.sursar.org.uk.

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