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A Police Search Advisor (PolSA) is responsible for the planning, organisation, management and control of Crime, Missing Person and Counter Terrorism searches.  

The PolSA will also advise Operational Commanders, Senior Investigating Officers and frontline Officers on strategic and tactical considerations when conducting searches.

The Search Advisor will plan the searches and ensure that sufficient resources are deployed to carry out the task safely, efficiently and in accordance with all legal requirements. Consideration will also be given to the effect that searches may have on the relationship between the Police and the local population, and if negative, what can be done to minimise this. The role also includes a quality control aspect to ensure that the Police Service of Northern Ireland's search teams maintain a high level of professionalism.

The Search Advisors have established a good working partnership with the numerous voluntary organisations throughout the Province who give up their time to assist in the search for missing persons. This close relationship has led to many individuals being safely returned home over the years.

The Search Advisors can call upon substantial resources to assist in search tasks from within the organisation, including:

  • Police Helicopter
  • Dog Handlers
  • Boats
  • Police Search and Rescue Team
  • Trained Search Teams

External voluntary groups can provide the following assistance in Missing Person searches:

  • Dog Handlers
  • Trained Search Teams (Lowland)
  • Trained Search Teams (Mountain)
  • Aircraft

Further information can be found on the Department of Justice website.

In addition, assistance is often provided by the RNLI and Maritime and Coastguard Agency in coastal searches.