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Does your SIO (Senior Investigating Officer) decide where to conduct searches as part of their investigation and if so on what basis?  Are they trained in the latest search techniques?  Have they experience of conducting many searches successfully?

The chances are that if they make the decision alone, they’ll base it on gut feeling or for the lucky (or unlucky, depending upon your yardstick) few, on experience.  There’s no need however to take this burden on themselves.

Did you know that they have access to specialist advisors called PoLSAs or Police Search Special Advisers?  In fact, every police officer has access to one.  It’s not about rank; it’s about the job at hand.

PoLSAs are graduates of the Police National Search Centre (PNSC), which was set up after the Brighton Bombing in 1984.  It is based at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) Bramshill, Hampshire and its role is to turn out experts at searching places and premises, trained by both the military and the police.

The PNSC delivers a range of specialist courses in search and security. After training, students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge required to plan and conduct efficient and effective searches in order to:

  • Gain intelligence
  • Obtain evidence for prosecutions
  • Assist in countering terrorism
  • Tackle criminality, by depriving them of their resources and opportunities
  • Locate vulnerable missing people
  • Protect potential targets and key events

The PoLSA course is of 17 days duration and upon passing it, a police search adviser is capable of planning, conducting and controlling counter-terrorism, crime and missing person’s searches.   A PoLSA is widely recognised as the most appropriate person to give advice and guidance in relation to searches.

So the next time your SIO needs searches conducting, don’t leave them to sort it out themselves.  Let them co-opt a PoLSA onto the enquiry.  It should give them the best places to search to help find the victim, suspect or evidence.  It might also bring your story to a more rapid conclusion so you might want to use the PoLSA for a bit of conflict with the SIO instead.  The choice is yours.

Don’t forget to book your place on the Crime Fiction – Making it Real weekend workshop March 2012

  1. Pete Denton says:

    Some more good advice. Your blog is certainly making me think hard about the way my story develops. It is all about the little details that add the authenticity to the story and make it a more believable read.


  2. Thanks for the post Pete. One of the aims of my blog is hopefully to stimulate the thought processes and generate ideas so I’m glad to read your comment. If I can help you in the future with any specifics, just drop me a line.


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