100% Voluntary Professional

Welcome to Search Dogs Buckinghamshire

Over half a million people live in the county of Buckinghamshire. On average thirteen people are reported missing every day (Thames Valley Police recorded incidents). When a missing person is deemed to be vulnerable and at high risk (of harm), the police are able to call upon the support of nationally qualified teams of Search & Rescue volunteers.

People we are called upon to search for include anyone who the police feel to be vulnerable or at risk of harm:

  • Adults living with mental ill health, particularly those at risk of self-harm
  • The elderly and those living with conditions such as dementia
  • Children and young people
Mitch searching with handler Jenny

Who We Are

Search Dogs Buckinghamshire is a charity that was set up in 2008.  We are the Lowland Rescue dog team covering Buckinghamshire, and we also support search and rescue (SAR) teams in adjacent counties.   Our team is made up of 20 operational members, 10 further in training and, of course, all of the dogs.

Any search is always an emergency. The use of our dogs provides the quickest way of finding individuals. The ultimate goal of both dog and handler is to locate the missing person and reunite them with their family.

We work alongside Thames Valley Police Search Advisers (PolSAs) during search and rescue incidents.

Our teams are fully self-sufficient in terms of equipment and the latest communications technology. We are also able to rapidly mobilise personnel to assist with searching in urban and rural settings, working along river banks if needed.

A dog team typically consists of at least three parts – the search dog, the dog’s handler (owner), and a support person who will perform navigation, communication, first aid and other functions as needed. All parts of a dog team require specialist training before they can go on live searches, as they must all pass national assessments.

100% Voluntary, 100% Professional

All our members are volunteers, most with full time jobs, and our dogs belong to their handlers. We assist Thames Valley Police and other police forces in the search for missing vulnerable adults and children. Although 100% voluntary, our dogs and their handlers have to be nationally assessed and qualified in order to become operational. We are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Search Dogs Buckinghamshire is a registered charity (1149131). Funding comes through donations and all our members pay their own costs (their vehicles, mileages, personal items etc). We use our funding for the specialist equipment needed such as first aid and safety equipment, radios and our jackets.

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.

Setting off for a seach
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The Herbert Protocol

Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme being introduced by the five Search & Rescue teams of Thames Valley in partnership with Thames Valley Police and other agencies which encourages carers to compile useful information that could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

It is named after George Herbert a War veteran of the Normandy landings who lived with dementia and died while he was ‘missing’ on his way to his childhood home.

At the heart of the initiative is a questionnaire that family, friends or carers use to record a range of important information about the person being cared for. It is retained in a safe place by the family or carer so that it is immediately available to the Police and Search & Rescue teams in the event that the person goes missing. By completing the questionnaire in advance, it will not only speed up the time taken to gather this vital information but will also avoid putting additional stress on families and carers at a time when they are already worried about their loved one.