Who are we – Search Dogs Buckinghamshire are volunteers who love dogs and are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our main role is to assist Thames Valley Police to search for missing or vulnerable people within Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire area. We also assist other Lowland Search Dog units when requested.
What we do – We search for missing and vulnerable children and adults who might be despondent, suffering from dementia or other conditions. The dogs within our team are highly trained to search for human scent and are very effective when searching rural areas and woodland; the ultimate goal of both dog and handler is to locate the missing person and reunite them with their family.
How we are funded – Like so many volunteer organisations we receive no government funding and are only able to continue our life saving work through the kind support of the public. All our members are volunteers and all our dogs are family pets belonging to their handlers. We rely entirely on donations and sponsorship to fund the equipment we require for both dogs and dog handlers. Typically we need funding for specialist training and items of equipment, including protective clothing, navigation and communications equipment and first aid items.
Our training – All of our volunteers (including our dogs!) are trained to national standards set by the Association of Lowland Search & Rescue (ALSAR). Before a member can become operational they are trained to be competent in a number of disciplines. These include Search Technique, First Aid, Navigation and Communications. Training typically takes between 3 to 6 months for a dog handler and 12 to 24 months for a dog before it reaches the standard required for a national assessment. Once qualified both dog handler and dog are reassessed every two years to ensure that they still achieve the required standards.
ALSAR – Search Dogs Buckinghamshire work closely with ALSAR units within the Thames Valley Policing area. Joint exercises and training frequently take place between the teams. Search Dogs Buckinghamshire are very proud of our close relationship with ALSAR, allowing both foot teams and dog teams to work effectively together and share resources, ensuring the best possible outcome for the missing person. Steve Butcher, Chairman of OxSAR, recently commented “OxSAR is proud to work side by side with Search Dogs Buckinghamshire; having dog handlers in our unit means everyone from our Search Controllers to our Search Technicians have a better understanding of their capabilities allowing for quicker deployments on a search”.
Join us – If you are interested in joining us 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 fundraisers. Please view our join us page and submit an application – we will be back in touch with you very shortly.
Some important qualities…..
Must like dogs!
Must like the outdoors!
Happy to get wet and slobbered on!
Able to hide in obscure places, sometimes in the dark!
Have a sense of humour!
Happy to take instructions!