About Us

Midshires Search and Rescue (MSAR) was established in 1999 and is a member unit of the UK’s Lowland Rescue service (opens in new window). Alongside Mountain Rescue, Cave Rescue, the RNLI and Volunteer Coastguard, we form the backbone of specialist help for the Emergency Services when anyone is in need of finding or rescuing. We are called out by the Police, other search teams and County Emergency Planning Officers to search for missing and vulnerable people and to assist in civil emergency situations.

What We Do

Two members of Midshires Search and Rescue searching a brook during an operation. They are helmeted and wearing full protective, 
water-clothing and are almost waist deep in water, searching underwater using long search poles.
A water-search

Lowland Rescue teams specialise in finding vulnerable missing people using various resources such as foot-teams and dog-teams, often over large areas of varying terrain such as woods and forests, nature reserves, water courses, quarries and wide areas of farmland. This photograph was taken of two of our members during a river search.

MSAR primarily covers the counties of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, but via mutual aid arrangements will also frequently deploy members to assist other Lowland teams in the surrounding counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex, Northamptonshire and sometimes even further afield.

We provide our service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will respond in any type of weather conditions.

Our Partners

MSAR have established excellent liaison links with the police forces in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, working closely with their search advisors and search teams.

Logo of the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum. Contains the slogan 'Working together in an emergency', and a design of five concentric, 
three-quarter circles round a white centre. We are also a member of the Bedfordshire Local Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee (BLEVEC), whose members are from voluntary organisations and provide assistance to the Bedfordshire Local Resilience Forum (BLRF) in the event of major incidents within the Bedfordshire and Luton areas.

How We Work

One of our members, dressed in safety helmet and full water kit for water searches with the words \"MSAR Search And Rescue\" on the back, 
on a search operation. He is stood beside a muddy track looking across open moorland.
Team Training Excercise

Midshires strives to maintain 50 operational members, and we typically deal with 50 to 60 calls a year. All of our members are volunteers, and none of them are paid for their time, fuel or expenses. MSAR is a registered charity, and receives no funding from government or the emergency services – we are wholly reliant on donations and grants.

Our search and rescue service is provided free of charge to the police. Our ability to operate autonomously allows the police to utilise their own resources effectively, whilst ensuring that they are delivering a professional response to the missing person, their families and the wider community.

Training Members Receive

An MSAR team searching a river during a training session. A line of six members across the river, thigh deep in the water, are moving 
downstream using search poles, while two more follow behind monitoring the operation.
Members training in river rescue

New operational members initially train as a search technician, and can then develop further in areas such as team leader, bank search, water and flood rescue, and search planning and management. We deliver training to nationally recognised standards in skills such as:

  • search management and planning
  • leadership
  • search theory and tactics
  • missing person behaviour
  • first aid
  • navigation
  • radio communications
  • water rescue

Once initial training is complete, Midshires will provide ongoing training to help members fulfil their continuing professional development to ensure maintenance of skills, and further development of its members.

About Ourselves

Our members come from a variety of backgrounds such as healthcare, teaching, emergency services, emergency planning and private business. We are a friendly but dedicated group who maintain an ethos of commitment and professionalism in what we do. We welcome like-minded people from a wide range of backgrounds to join us, as this broadens the skills of the team.

If you have any further questions or would like to find out more about us, please email us at enquiries@midshires.org.uk (opens in new window).