Police divers move to new merged unit

A NEW underwater search unit was launched this week between South Yorkshire Police and neighbouring forces.

The unit, based in Humberside, is made up of a dedicated team of one police sergeant and nine specially trained police officers who will cover South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and Humberside.

It is one of a number of amalgamations made between the forces to save costs.

There is already a regional roads policing unit, and both the dog and mounted sections are also being considered for a possible amalgamation.

The South Yorkshire and Humberside forces also share their human resources and IT departments, and there are plans for the forces to join the National Police Air Service, which will see helicopters shared.

The new unit will save around £400,000, which the forces can put back into protecting frontline services.

South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire Police and Humberside had their own units and together spent more than £1 million per year.

A total of 28 officers worked in the units - five on a full-time basis and 23 being employed in other duties when not fulfilling their underwater search role.

Deputy chief constable Mark Whyman, head of collaboration for policing Yorkshire and the Humber, reassured the public that the level of service will be maintained with the new unit.

He said: “The new four-force Underwater Search capability is a welcome addition to our portfolio of operational units.”

“Not only is it providing all four forces with access to a dedicated full time team, but costs associated with training and equipment have also been optimised so that the same level of specialist search and recovery support delivered prior to today can still be maintained.”

“I am confident that the public will not see any difference in service levels, and that the £400,000 saved through creating a full time team will go support their local neighbourhood policing and response teams.”