The North West Police Underwater Search & Marine Unit has been in existence since 1974 and provides specialist search and recovery services to all the Forces in the North West of England, North Wales, and across the UK via police mutual aid protocols. Officers are seconded to the Unit from, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria & North Wales, with the Unit being made up of 12 full-time police officers (an Inspector, a Sergeant and 10 Constables) along with a civilian Dive Technician.
All the Officers are qualified HSE commercial divers (SCUBA and Surface Supply), licensed search officers and high risk confined space trained. In addition to these specialist skills, the Officers are also trained to operate a wide range of police vessels from small inflatables and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) through to larger survey boats and the Police Launch ‘Cormorant,’ which can deploy up to 60 miles offshore. The Unit uses sophisticated sonar technology to search large areas of water, but it is a sub-surface blind fingertip search for smaller items such as weapons or phones that is their most common method of search.