West Sussex volunteer search team given award by police

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VOLUNTEER searchers have been rewarded by police for the work they do in West Sussex.

Eighteen original members of the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Search Team West – which was established following the disappearance of Sarah Payne – were presented with a commendation by Sussex Police.

Chief Inspector Jim Bartlett of West Sussex Division presented the award.

He said: ‘Sussex Police are happy to award the team with a commendation for their outstanding contributions to making the search team the success that it is and for the help that they give to the community when looking for missing persons, day or night, regardless of the weather.’

Following the search for Sarah Payne in 2000, search team member Keith Richardson suggested that a rapid response team was trained and kept on stand-by for similar occasions.

The Highdown Neighbourhood Watch Team was formed and it was the first police-trained volunteer search team in the country.

Now known as the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Search Team West it has two minibuses which are used for transporting personnel and equipment to searches.

It has been operational for over 10 years and has participated in 75 searches.

To find out more about joining the search team or donating towards its running costs call 01903 763082 or email pam@westdownssearchteam.co.uk.