Specialist Search and Recovery Team

The Specialist Search and Recovery Team (SSRT) is involved in far more than diving.

The SSRT is a specialist team with training and expertise in search and recovery in hazardous environments. It works over land and under water, searching for and recovering items such as firearms, drugs, property, explosives and missing persons.

The team is made up of eight officers - one sergeant and seven constables - plus one police staff dive technician. The unit is involved in around 350 operations each year.

A brief history

  • Formed in 1956.
  • The SSRT was initially called the Underwater Search Team. It was part of Berkshire Constabulary and consisted of five officers.
  • The new name ‘Specialist Search and Recovery Team’ gives a better indication of the type of work that it does.

The SSRT performs a number of roles, including:

  • Underwater search, including the search for and recovery of bodies in water, weapons and property, and vehicles.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) searches.
  • Confined space searches in any space where the atmosphere and air quality is potentially hazardous.
  • Rope access searches at height.
  • Crime scene searching.
  • Drugs and property warrants – providing method of entry and then a search capability of the premises.
  • Boat patrols and river searches.
  • Flood rescue.
  • Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, and Nuclear (CBRN) search and recovery trained.
  • Victim recovery at major disasters. SSRT members are also trained to act as temporary mortuary attendants to help pathologists in such incidents. Five members of the SSRT are UK DVI (disaster victim identification) trained.

Further information

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