Corruption not_searching

The Million Dollar Question

From a serving SAR team member:-

The Search Dog Heroes project (SDH for short) is a million-pound funded project, working with Missing People and funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery. In short, it’s a lot of money, that has been generously donated by ordinary people, and in concept a pretty good idea. That concept was that 200 hundred dogs would be trained “to an operational standard” using this funding (as well as collecting and storing scent items off vulnerable people to help them be tracked in the case of an emergency). These 200 dogs would be “trailing” dogs, capable of following a specific scent derived from these boxes, as opposed to “air scenting” dogs that just detect any live or dead humans.

Part of the rationale for such a large sum of money being lobbed at the doggy set was that in all the years of training, arguing, dog-walking and setting standards in LR, zero trailing dogs had reached the required standard for deployment. Clearly a shake-up was required, and a big-money project seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.

With this much money at stake, the obvious criteria for a project lead would be:- someone who is heavily involved in Mountain Rescue, Lowland Rescue, Some Other Sort of SAR in the UK and who had a track record of working with and training trailing dogs, preferably with the Police in the UK. However, this was all a little too “obvious” for Lowland Rescue, who plumped instead for Ann-Jo Proos, who fits precisely none of these criteria.

She does however have a cosy relationship with the head of Surrey’s Dog Team. This was considered much more of a relevant factor than the fact that AJP is an individual with no operational experience, resides in France and, one might argue a dubious track record of training trailing dogs to any reasonable standard, but who is best mates with the Surrey Dog Clique.

Its worth just noting that AJP has never deployed a trailing dog operationally, and is certainly not well known for producing large quantities of trained trailing dogs. In fact, in the 2 years since the contract was awarded, only 2 teams have passed the assessment. One who provided accommodation to AJP on her visits to the UK, and the other based in the Channel Islands, who also stayed at the same address… 

These double standards were in evidence again when a number of handlers were strong-armed into travelling to France to train at AJP’s “facility”, and charged an arm and a leg for the privilege. Of course, those in the ‘inner-circle’ were not charged at all.

So, what have we achieved with the million pound bung? To date, 2 dogs have been qualified (one of whom famously indicated at a spot covered by 360° CCTV, that the misper had clearly never visited). The standards required by LR to qualify are now laughably low, as they rush to pass their mates before the money runs out. There are numerous tales of cheating – helping and nobbling the right and wrong candidates, as determined by the assessors. Some assessors were recruited who had never even seen a trailing dog work, just to try to salvage something from the scheme.

There are talks of plenty of moves of handlers from team to team, which was always the case, usually as the result of bullying. But more disturbingly there is talk of individuals and even teams leaving the LR organisation, because the reputation has been so utterly damaged by this fiasco.

As always, this whistleblowing site isn’t here to knock those that give their time to serve their communities. It doesn’t harbour a grudge against the organisation, its aims or the majority of the staff. What it will continue to do is point out where money is being diverted or misused, where laws are being broken, where there is hypocrisy and especially where there is bullying. This story has a sprinkling of all of the above, and we’ll keep you posted on any progress. You never know, we may have 3 dogs qualified if they give us another million quid.

Corruption Drones

Surrey SAR flying drones illegally…..confirmed

Further to our previous post when SCC leaked a document to the Armed Forces and RNLI about Surrey SAR flying drones illegally we now see that an article was published in the press.

It can be read here…

The Surrey Police response was “Following the investigation, the decision was made, in conjunction with advice provided by the Civil Aviation Authority, that it was proportionate to deal with these matters as a point of learning, allowing appropriate practice and process change to ensure that Surrey Search and Rescue did not commit any further breaches.”…

Of note is the response from James Rossell when he says “The matters were rightly investigated by the police, and separately the police found that there was either no evidence that drones were flown outside of the law, or that no offence has been committed. In response to a single incident, additional training was recommended by the police and we accepted those findings. No further action was taken against the drone operators or the charity.

Yet again Mr Rosssell can’t be honest and open about what happened. It is quite clear that there were Air Navigation Order offences as Seamus Kearns flew in congested areas without a PFCO and the police dealt with this as words of advice so that Surrey SAR could learn from their mistakes. With attitudes like this fool has is it any wonder that team members and people on other teams or the emergency services have no respect for him and really don’t like him.

It is also noted “We ensure that safety is a key priority when we carry out searches to save lives and rescue people in danger.“….hmmmm I’m sure not you a have real grip on what safety is or have a grip on health and safety. Gavin becoming hypothermic and hospitalised after a Surrey SAR training session in a lake and lets not forget that James Turnbull wrote “we broke Buzz” when he was joking about Susan having her ankle broken on another water training session. Safety isn’t a joke Mr Turnbull.

Corruption Drones

SurSAR drones being flown illegally?

Well well well. Thanks to someone in Surrey County Council leaking this document and sending it to the Armed Forces and other high profile organisations including the RNLI, it appears that SurSAR have indeed been flying drones illegally and lends weight to the fact that people in SFRS do not like or trust SurSAR. At least more organisations are aware of the risk of using SurSAR.

It is no surprise to us to see James Rossell and Seamus Kearns mentioned as the ones flying illegally and dangerously. Let’s not forget we are supposed to “trust the trustees”. How can we when they are putting lives at risk whether it be from ignoring intelligence during searches, to bodged water rescue deployments, to driving dangerously on blue lights and now to flying drones dangerously.

Surrey Police and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service really need to demand changes at SurSAR by stopping using them until they clear out the dangerous, incompetent fools that are the “Trustees” and self appointed Operational Management Team.

Corruption Uncategorised Water Rescue

Naughty naughty …very naughty?

More disturbing news from the watery world of SurSAR. One of their members, in name only, as he never turns up and doesn’t do any of the training despite supposedly everyone being a Search Technician first and a specialist second, may have been involved in a casual bit of fraud. Still, its all sort of for a good cause, and if you’re a trustee, or one of their friends, we can always bend the rules.

This particular member is very well-respected in the water rescue community due to his skills, was the national lead for water rescue and is a Rescue 3 instructor. It also seems he is something important in the RNLI.

Unfortunately for all concerned we have evidence that suggests he may have been a naughty boy. This individual was a special in the Metropolitan Police and should know what fraud is. It looks like James Rossell has really dropped him in it this time. People on the team are furious at what James Rossell has done, it is common knowledge and flying around on WhatsApp messages between team members and other organisations. SFRS have also leaked documentation too….its not looking good.

Is this why our aquatic friend rapidly stood down as a Trustee of Lowland Rescue last year? Did he get wind that Mr Rossell had been foolish? We think everyone at the needs to come clean and explain to the police how Mr Rossell was able to do what he did as well as cutting links to Surrey SAR to protect his own reputation.

In the mean time, if you have Rescue 3 water qualification from Surrey SAR and signed of by someone at the RNLI, then it may well be moody and you may have wasted your money. Unless you think funding the lifestyle of the rich and famous is a good use of your money, of course.


What is going wrong at Surrey SAR?

SurSAR are a charity made up of volunteers, there are no paid staff although some Trustees make money from charity activity.  Their purpose is to ASSIST the emergency services such as the Police… they are most definitely NOT emergency services despite how their PR machine that is Seamus Kearns and James Turnbull project themselves to the world with flashing blue lights and more equipment than the genuine emergency services could ever dream of having access to.  Whilst the team as a whole do a good job in turning out at all hours to help the police look for high risk missing people, the team is let down badly by unsuitable Trustees and Management Team.  “Lions led by donkeys” is the best way to describe SurSAR at present.

Part of the problem is the unconstitutional way that SurSAR have set themselves up with the three Trustees also being part of the Management Team. Sadly this leads to corrupt activity that if challenged by the membership sees the member dismissed.  In any other charity or organisation, if you have a problem you take it to management, if they don’t deal with it you take it to Trustees.  The problem with SurSAR is Trustees & Management are one and the same they never find fault with what they are doing.  There is a non existent investigation into the complainant and they are kicked out.

Everyone at SurSAR is a search technician first and a specialism is secondary such as K9 or water rescue.  Everyone needs to keep “competencies” up to date or they are made non-operational.  Sadly the Trustees/Management Team covertly change the rules to suit themselves.  

So who are the donkeys ruining SurSAR?

Dr Piers Page is the Chairman (Trustee) and on the Management Team.  You would think that as a Surgeon with Army experience he would be a strong leader.  This is sadly not the case as he is too easily led by fellow Trustee James Rossell.  He rarely, if ever turns up for callouts and is too overweight and unfit to pass the fitness test yet maintains operational currency when other members of the team would be made non operational.  This silver tongued man blames everyone but himself for what is going wrong and tries to convince people he is right.  Sadly people on the team don’t believe him or trust him with anything except his exceptional medical ability.  Don’t expect Dr Page to sort out a problem like female team members being sexually harassed by a manager, or problems with bullying in the dog team, he simply is not interested.  There are grave concerns about his integrity after he had to stand down as a Trustee of Lowland Rescue national level along with James Rossell due to allegations of theft, fraud and misusing charity funds.  Information received tells us this was connected with trying to overthrow the LR Chairman Paul Lewis after a bogus investigation that they would not share the results with.  No wrong doing was ever found on behalf of Paul Lewis, new trustees were voted in and the matter was hushed up by LR.  Sadly tens of thousands of pounds of donated money was wasted on legal fees due to the unfounded allegations made by Piers Page and James Rossell.

James Rossell is the Treasurer and on the Management Team.  He is probably the most dangerous person in SurSAR due his obsessive, reckless behaviour and appallingly dangerous attitude to risk.  He displays traits of being on the autistic spectrum which can be a dangerous combination when dealing emergency services callouts and his behaviour often causes more problems than it solves.  People complain that he always wants to “be the hero” and is often seen leaving his designated role or location to try get hands on with casualties.  To Mr Rossell, SurSAR is a play thing, he is financially well off but lacks personal skills and empathy to be successful in SAR.  He shows a great deal of arrogance to everyone he comes across which infuriates the “partners” in the Police and Fire Service who have to tolerate him due to the assistance SurSAR give.  Surrey Fire and Rescue Service firefighters literally ask their senior officers to tell him to go away (put politely) as he is not wanted at the callouts and interferes whilst genuinely believing he is a senior police officer, senior fire officer and a paramedic.  He is known for self deploying at fire service callouts and the fire service receive several complaints from incident commanders about this. 

As Treasurer of the charity, James Rossell authorises payments to support his own little projects and even calls himself “Head of Special Projects” to justify this.  What this means is he uses charity money to fund R&D projects and then benefits by selling those products/services commercially himself via his own company Wirehive.  As with Piers Page, there were allegations of theft, fraud and misuse of charity funds made against him. 

His apparent lack of honesty and integrity is not just in question when he was a Trustee of LR, it was questioned in court in 2019 connected with a situation that he created and cost the charity over £10,000 of donated money in legal fees.  We are aware that James Rossell has been involved in dangerously and illegally flying drones for SurSAR.  If this can be evidenced then it raises further concerns about his suitability to have anything to do with SurSAR or Lowland Rescue.

Seamus Kearns is the final Trustee who is the secretary and also on the management team as the “Head of Operations”.  Mr Kearns is a serial job hopper who never seems to be able to hold down a job.  His latest role is the Incident Response Manager for Cross Rail which he blagged due to his SAR experience and contacts at Cross Rail.  Sadly he is another person with no emergency services experience who genuinely thinks he has.  Lets hope there are no major incidents on Cross Rail as he won’t cope.  He comes across as a “Nice guy” but he is two faced chancer and will bend the rules to get something done and get someone else to put their name to it. Mr Kearns doesn’t appear to have many integrity issues around him with the exception of managing to stay operational even though his morbid obesity leaves him unable to pass the fitness test like Dr Page.

Sadly Mr Kearns and Mr Rossell work too closely together and between them they are destroying SurSAR.  Like Mr Rossell, Mr Kearns credibility with the emergency services is decreasing all the time due to his lack attitudes at times to things like wearing the correct PPE.

Trustees… would expect people to be able to trust the Trustees. Sadly not in SurSAR, there is no trust, they are personally disliked by team members who are sick of their attitudes and two that are ruining the charity. The membership can’t even trust them to do the right thing and resign.

A new member to the SurSAR leadership is Jill Thorpe.  A headstrong teacher at the Royal Grammar School.  She now holds an “executive position” in SurSAR after the management and Trustees were called out for being male, pale and stale.  Don’t be fooled by her being the only token female on the management team.  There have been several bullying and harassment concerns raised over her behaviour as she becomes more corrupted by the Trustees and she is already on the slippery slope to talking to colleagues like they are something she trod in.  We have no doubts that more information will be received about her.

Blue Lights Corruption

another day, another blue light run

Residents of Walton on Thames will be aware that the man who fell into the river several weeks ago was recovered this week by Walton Bridge. They may even have witnessed a SAR vehicle arriving at speed after a blue light run from Woking, singled crewed and without any actual equipment.

It seems that one of the paramedics on scene escalated what appeared to be a bog-standard body recovery to a rescue, triggering the Fire Service’s water rescue PDA, including SURSAR.

Needless to say once they all arrived, one after an exciting BLR through north Surrey, they were immediately stood down as the job was in fact….. a body recovery.

So, who was this brave paramedic, who went against the flow, contradicted the police and fire service personnel on scene and insisted on a SURSAR response? Seems it was one of the trustee’s girlfriends.

Anything for a blue light run. eh?