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Finding discarded weapons, mobile phones and recovering bodies – it’s all in a day’s work for our Underwater Search Unit.
Lincolnshire Police is one of only nine forces in the country with a dedicated Underwater Search Unit (UWSU). Based in Grantham, the unit is a team of nine officers drawn from various departments to cover Lincolnshire’s underwater policing needs.
The team can dive up to 50 metres deep and are deployed to a wide range of operational incidents to help recover evidential items, which can include weapons, drugs, mobiles phones and cars. In one incident of affray, the team were called to search for a knife that had been discarded in the River Witham in Lincoln. After 30 minutes of searching, the team were able to recover the knife.
They are also called to help search for missing people and unfortunately, recover bones and bodies from different bodies of water. On New Year’s Day, the team were called to help with a missing person enquiry in Lincoln. They were deployed and sadly recovered the body of a male who had fallen into the water on Sincil Bank.
PC Alex Bedford, a dive contractor and one of the divers on the Underwater Search Unit said: “Diving is something I’ve always been interested in and when the opportunity came up to be a part of the unit in 2007, I went for it and never looked back.
“I’m one of nine part-time police divers but I’m also a dive contractor, which means I’m responsible for planning and managing the dives for the team to ensure everyone’s safety. This can be during training, which we do twice a month, and also when we get called out to incidents.
“The search element of diving is something that I enjoy and there’s no greater feeling than when you find something you’re looking for, especially when you have zero visibility when carrying out searches underwater.”
You can keep up to date with the team on Twitter @LincsPoliceOps.