'They are unsung heroes of the North East' - Life-saving search and rescue teams praised by police after finishing busiest year

Life-saving search and rescue teams have been praised by police after the coronavirus pandemic saw volunteers deal with a huge rise in incidents.

Friday, 15th January 2021, 5:51 pm
Updated Friday, 15th January 2021, 5:52 pm

Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) are devoted volunteers who provide a vital service in delivering search and rescue cover for the whole of the Northumbria Police area.

Every year they assist police with hundreds of jobs from aiding missing person investigations to performing life-saving rescue operations.

During the coronavirus pandemic, teams were called out to 80% more incidents as many people took to the outdoors for exercise once lockdown restrictions were eased.

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Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Team (NOTMRT) provi. e a vital service in delivering search and rescue cover.

Now teams have been praised for their efforts by police after their busiest year yet.

“I can’t stress enough how valuable an asset our local Mountain Rescue Teams are to our force,” said Northumbria Police Superintendent Andrew Huddleston.

“In many situations their efforts are the difference between a successful and unsuccessful outcome.

“They may be volunteers but they are amongst the most professional and dedicated individuals anyone could hope to work with – they are true life-savers.”

The rise in demand for the teams in 2020 saw a 30% increase in hours volunteered compared with the year before – with a total of 4,714 hours volunteered during incidents alone.

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Supt Huddleston added: “Their role in keeping our community safe is large but can go unnoticed - but they really are unsung heroes of the North East.

“They have our full support and admiration and we wanted to publicly acknowledge the amazing contribution they make to the region.”

Iain Nixon, Team Leader of Northumberland National Park MRT, said: “In March 2020, it was impossible to predict what impact the first lockdown would have on incidents in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.

“Then, once restrictions were lifted, we didn’t know whether we’d see a sudden deluge of incidents or a steady trickle.

"In the end, both Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne Mountain Rescue Teams recorded more incidents and had more deployments than usual and, like the Peak District and Pennine teams, we were significantly up on rescues in the hills as people took to the outdoors in response to their time in isolation.”

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