Incident 30/2006

At 21:26, with the majority of the team on our regular Wednesday evening training exercise, our Team Leader was contacted directly by GMP regards the request for urgent assistance from the team in the search for a missing 11 year old boy.

The boy had been reported missing on his journey home from his school, both being on the immediate outskirts of Bury. The entire team was immediately recalled from the outdoor exercise, with other team members, including our Team Leader – who had not been on the exercise – responding very quickly to the search RVP at St. Gabriels High School, Bury.

In a huge search effort 30 team members and our search dog Chi, and trainee tracker dog Sniff joined in GMP police resources including Division, Traffic, and four dog teams, alongside two fire service crews, who had been given permission to join in the search from Bury fire station.

A large number of immediate family, friends of the missing boy’s family, and concerned neighbours were also very involved in the search. The fact that the missing boy had a medical condition and was reported as only wearing his school uniform, gave considerable concern for all involved in the search for his wellbeing, particularly as the temperature at the height of the search was down to -6˚C.

The overall MRT and GMP search effort was coordinated by our Team Leader, Garry Rhodes, working alongside a GMP Missing Persons Search Manager. The Lancashire Constabulary Air Support Unit helicopter also joined in the search (As GMP’s own helicopter was unavailable).

Within the Bolton team members deployed was a two-man canoe search unit which covered the partly frozen nearby River Irwell and Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal. The team also provided the full facilities of its control and mobile catering units.

The search was concluded in its initial stages with exhausted searchers having drawn a blank at 04:12 in the morning, with the team finally leaving the search RVP at 05:00. GMP police efforts, combined with those of the family obviously continued with the team taking a short rest before being possibly recalled.