Pete Roberts, a member Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, has been given two top awards – the National Police Search Governance Board Award 2023 for Lifetime Achievement and the Mountain Rescue England and Wales Distinguished Service Award. The awards were presented by Chief Inspector Mark Sweeney of the Police National Search Centre and the MREW senior executive officer, Mike Park, at the MREW national meeting.
The National Police Search Governance Board Award recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the UK search community which has resulted in a legacy of improved safety to the general public or contributed significantly to improving the search capability within the United Kingdom. Nominated individuals should have a recognised sustained accomplishments that have spanned over at least 15 years within the UK search community.
Pete has been a team member with NNPMRT for over 50 years and in that time Pete has served as Chairman and Team Leader twice. During his time in the Team, Pete has played a critical role in a number of high-profile searches, including the search for evidence after the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. Pete has worked alongside colleagues in Northumbria Police, particularly the Police Search Advisers, assisting with searches for high risk vulnerable and despondent missing persons for over 40 years where his knowledge, experience and skills have been invaluable.
The Centre for Search Research
Pete’s passion to support the search for missing persons led him to invest his personal time into developing and updating search management practices and in the 1980s, he co-authored a number of research papers in this field. In 1997, Pete formed the Centre for Search Research alongside a then colleague from Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team to enable them to pursue their interest in topics and techniques relating to searching and search management.
The company became a UK registered charity in the same year. Since then Pete has presented on the subject of search techniques and search management at SAR conferences throughout the UK, Ireland, US and Canada. Pete’s dedication as a volunteer to this specific field within mountain search and rescue has spanned over 50 decades and his contribution has had a huge impact on search techniques not just in the Northumbria Police operational area but also across the UK, Ireland and North America. The practical six step process for managing a response to a missing person search, developed by Pete and colleagues, has been adopted by Mountain Rescue Teams across the UK and Ireland.
Within the Mountain Rescue community, the Distinguished Service Award is held in high esteem by all concerned, its standing enhanced by being awarded rarely and after due consideration. Fewer than 70 have been issued since the award was instituted in 1958. This award, the first time a NNPMRT member has received this award, highlights the substantial contribution that Pete has made to the wider Mountain Rescue community.
NNPMRT team leader Iain Nixon told us about Pete’s awards, “Both awards are thoroughly well deserved and mark a significant contribution to Mountain Rescue and search more broadly over five decades. The National Police Search Governance Board Award is rarely awarded to individuals outside the Police service and we believe this is the first time a mountain rescue volunteer has received this award.”
Pete commented “I feel very honoured to receive these awards that acknowledge my achievements over 50 years of being involved in Mountain Rescue both locally and nationally. Mountain Rescue has given me a lot – good friends around the world where I have had the opportunity to travel. I hope that over this time I have been able to contribute to the development of Mountain Rescue. These awards are also a tribute to the countless hours freely given by volunteers to help others and a big thank you to all the long suffering families, wives, husbands and partners who support them in their endeavours.
Though I am standing down as an operational member of NNPMRT I hope to continue my work on search for missing person as a director of The Centre for Search Research (www.tcsr.org.uk )”