search - the problem
Every year hundreds of thousands of people go missing. In high-risk cases (for example children or dementia cases) Police Search Advisors (PoISAs) are deployed to coordinate searches for them. To carry out their task they need maps, aerial photography and geo-spatial tools alongside databases of past behaviours and previous experience.
Search areas need to be defined and prioritised, search teams tasked and monitored, and progress and results communicated out to commanders and the media. All this needs to be documented and recorded along with decision rationale, within tight timescales. In addition PoISAs are under pressure to make optimal use of scarce search resources available to them, whether Search and Rescue Teams, members of the public, or specialist search teams such as dogs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
PoISAs are also used to coordinate comprehensive searches in cases where forensic evidence needs to be recovered. This requires them to quickly divide an area into sectors, then control and manage the search and document any results recovered.
Amended image credit: Ninian Reid. Visual Hunt.