Willy Bach recognises Leicestershire's search and rescue volunteers

Safer Community Celebration 5393 GROUP

A group of selfless volunteers grabbed the limelight tonight at a special event staged by Leicestershire’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach.

Leicestershire Search and Rescue (LeicSAR) walked away with top honours at a Safer Community Celebration, which took place at the College Court Hotel and Conference Centre in Knighton, Leicester. LeicSAR received the Commissioner’s Special Recognition Award for their exceptional contribution to the delivery of his Police & Crime Plan.

Based in Woodhouse Eaves, LeicSAR is a non-profit organisation providing 24/7 search and rescue support to the police and emergency services. Fully trained volunteers provide assistance with searches for vulnerable missing persons, including children, the elderly and those suffering from dementia, depression or mental health issues.

Across the Leicestershire force area, as many as 30 people can be listed as missing on a daily basis. Most are safely located, nonetheless the frequency of missing persons places a big strain on stretched police resources. Thanks to LeicSAR, effective search operations can be mounted using dedicated volunteers, saving police time, taxpayers money and creating huge amounts of goodwill and social value.

The award was presented to LeicSAR’s Dan Ablett and Simon Headley, by BBC Radio Leicester’s Ben Jackson  following a celebration dinner attended by over 100 guests, including The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, The High Sherriff of Rutland, The Lord Mayor of Leicester, The Chief Constable and senior figures from local government, health services, the criminal justice system and voluntary groups.

Lord Bach said:

“I am truly impressed at the service that LeicSAR provides to the force. They do a brilliant job and were the clear choice for my special recognition award. They freely give their time and skill to help people and keep them safe from harm. Without them, police resources would be diverted to search for people who are missing or lost. LeicSAR plays a huge role in protecting the vulnerable. They are worthy winners and a shining example of the value of volunteers in public service; well done!”

Simon Headley, LeicSAR Chair said:

“We currently have 48 members who volunteer for different roles, from trained searchers to fundraisers. We also have a nationally accredited air-scenting dog team and a specialist bike team, capable of providing rapid search capability across large areas. The team is fully self-sufficient and I want to thank Lord Bach for his support and for this recognition tonight.”

Earlier in the evening, awards were presented to organisations and individuals for their work across the five themes set out in Lord Bach’s Police and Crime Plan.

  • The Viable Partnerships Award was presented to Arif Voraji of Help the Homeless Leicester for his work supporting rough sleepers in the city.

  • The Visible Policing Award went to Inspector Mark Botte for his outstanding leadership in raising public confidence in policing in Loughborough.

  • The Victim Services Award was collected by Millie Gant in recognition of her resolute work at the Juniper Lodge sexual assault referral centre.

  • Jon Roberts, director at the Leicester based substance abuse recovery charity, Dear Albert, picked up The Vulnerability Protection Award.

  • The Value for Money award was presented to Kieran Breen, Siobhan Hirrell and Rudi Parra-Watson from Leicestershire Cares for their work in reducing re-offending rates.

  • The Blaby, Hinckley & Bosworth Community Safety Partnership was recognised for its enthusiastic approach to partnership working, particularly with vulnerable school students. Rachel Burgess and Rebecca Holcroft collected the award on behalf of the partnership.

The event was generously supported by Leicester City Football Club Community Trust and Turning Point.



Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401



Posted on Thursday 30th January 2020
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