We regularly mention dishonesty on this site along with the constant failure of Surrey Search and Rescue trustees and management to be honest, open and transparent. The latest post on Social Media is no different.
Apparently there have been 158 callouts in 2020, “record breaking” as they like to describe it. Chinny reckon…
The truth is that Trustees/Management have misrepresented the figures again to hoodwink the public as to how busy we are as this helps us get grants and tugs on the heart strings for fundraising. In reality this was our quietest year for genuine callouts from the police and fire service. We rarely got called out for our “core business” of searching for people and were exceptionally quiet.
Every time the phone goes it is logged as a callout in the stats in D4H, even the occasions where police phone for advice or where we are put on standby and don’t physically deploy due to lack of people available. They are counted as callouts.
Another truth is our neighbouring teams don’t call us for assistance unless they are absolutely desperate as they don’t like dealing with the arrogance of Seamus Kearns, James Rossell and some of the other “know it alls”. Our callouts to help other Lowland Rescue teams have been in decline for a couple of years.
The 2020 figures include volunteering for Covid 19 welfare checks which go down as incidents. We could post the D4H pages to show how callouts are recorded/people attending and what a broad definition they use for “call out” but a simpler way for the public to verify the callouts is to look at the Surrey SAR social media. When there is a genuine callout it gets posted on social media and there were not nearly the figures that Surrey Search and Rescue claim in 2020.
Another anomaly with the post is the photograph. It gives the false impression we have lots of volunteers. In reality it is an old photograph, we have lost so many people in the year with people quitting as the charity is in a complete mess and financially mismanaged by incompetent “management”/Trustees. The photo illustrates how the team is and always has been very white and our membership doesn’t reflect the community we volunteer in.
Surrey Search and Rescue should post up the figures and stats for the public to see. They won’t though, nor will they answer questions about massaging the figures.
Surrey SAR are now promoting a Lowland Rescue branded gin by Silent Pool distillery inappropriately named “Lifesaver” gin and people quite rightly are concerned about this.
Silent Pool are a local gin distillery in Surrey and they do make some high quality products however we do question their partnership with Surrey SAR and question their moral values by making money via Search and Rescue. Donating hand sanitiser was a great idea but selling alcohol in the name of SAR has over stepped the mark.
Alcohol plays a significant part in the final hours of many people either when intentionally taking their own lives or accidental deaths such as falling into water whilst drunk. It simply isn’t appropriate for Surrey SAR or Lowland Rescue to be promoting alcohol using their name and branding.
Surrey SAR get a mere £2.50 per bottle sold. We don’t see the Surrey Police Traffic Unit promoting alcohol as they know full well the harm that alcohol does when mixed with driving. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service don’t sell candles as they know how many people died from house fires due to unattended flames. It is a shame that Surrey SAR Trustees have such broken moral compasses and don’t follow suit, instead they take money from beer and gin sales knowing full well the role alcohol plays in the untimely deaths of those they are supposed to be helping.
Comments on the What Ales Yer post raise some very good questions.
Trailer wrote “Today i saw that SURSAR have launched a Gin called Lifesaver. ( I then checked it was April 1st) Can none of their Trustees see that this is totally inappropriate for a Charity who’s prime purpose is to preserve lives? Surely they have been to enough despondent death scenes to remember that alcohol and drugs play a very frequent part in the ends of very unhappy and ill people. To blazen the LR lozenge on a bottle of gin over the name ‘Lifesaver’ leaves me dismayed. Where was their ethics when they agreed to this or approached Silent Pool asking for it?
Buck Tarbrush wrote “I’ve just been reading on Facebook about Surrey SAR gin now too. It beggars belief that a SAR team is looking to make money from advertising alcohol. I think the poster who says he thought it was an April’s Fool joke is on the money. It seems a very strange decision by the committee to back this one.
The only one of the individuals named in this blog I have met is the fat one who pretends to be in the army and given his attitude it doesn’t surprise me that things are as they are with your trustees.
I hope that the moral of the whole team is still high despite their behaviours.”
What more can we add, these posts? They sum up how people in Lowland Rescue are thinking. We too find the choice of name highly inappropriate. Sadly it is not a joke and Trustees Dr Piers Page (Surgeon), James Rossell (IT geek), Seamus Kearns (serial job hopper) and Jill Thorpe (teacher) have made a conscious decision to generate funds from selling alcohol. Dr Piers Page should know better but if any of the others had common sense they would have learned from the numerous searches over the years that alcohol does have a negative impact on the lives and deaths of those who go missing.
Sadly Buck Tarbrush, morale is at an all time low on the team and the Trustees seem hell bent on destroying Surrey SAR from within. No one likes or trusts the Trustees except the few sycophants who are blinded by the bullshit. The Trustees all need to stand down and completely disassociate themselves from the team along with Jill Thorpe who is increasingly coming to our attention for the wrong reasons.
If you disagree with the Surrey SAR gin or the Surrey SAR beer then don’t buy it, don’t buy the products of those companies or visit their pubs. We won’t be buying any of their products now that we have an idea of their ethics.
There have been several large fires and major incidents in Surrey recently which have required neighbouring fire services to assist Surrey Fire and Rescue Service on a regular basis as they simply cannot cope due to lack of resources and firefighters due to the cuts made by Surrey County Council. It is leaving Surrey residents in a very vulnerable position when we have to rely on London Fire Brigade, Hampshire, Berkshire and Sussex Fire & Rescue Services to help out.
One post came to no surprise to us regarding Surrey SAR, in fact Surrey SAR volunteers were told not to comment on the post so as not to further damage the already fragile reputation between Surrey SAR and SFRS.
It is admirable that Surrey SAR helped out however SFRS needs its own firefighters to be trained and equipped for water rescues before more people lose their lives due to relying on SAR volunteers and the very obvious delays in getting resources to a scene.
On several occasions SFRS firefighters have complained to senior officers about the conduct of Surrey SAR from unprofessional and dangerous conduct including self deploying. It comes as no surprise to hear from SFRS that James Rossell and Seamus Kearns are the most complained about individuals in Surrey SAR by firefighters who really don’t like it when those two turn up.
The main concern of Surrey SAR’s water rescue team in this article is training & certification. Surrey SAR are now a Rescue 3 International training provider to deliver water rescue courses. During a recent audit by DEFRA the Surrey SAR water rescue team were requested to upload their Rescue 3 water rescue certificates. Several team members raised concerns over the authenticity of James Rossell’s qualifications.
Below is the certificate for James Rossell (Surrey SAR Trustee and member of the management team).
On the face of it it looks genuine and quite clearly implies that James Rossell completed all the requirements for a swift water and flood rescue technician during a course on 10/09/2018 on the River Awe in Scotland. These competencies have to be demonstrated in person and skill sheets are completed and signed off by the instructors. Mr Rossell’s skill sheets were recorded on 0932-0086137 and the instructor was Martin Blaker. If a lay person saw this certificate as evidence of qualification they would have no reason to doubt its authenticity.
However, James Rossell was NOT on that training course.
These are the people that attended
Surrey SAR’s Facebook from the time of the course has lots of photos of the people named above and NONE have Mr Rossell in them, only the people listed on D4H above. Everyone on that course knows that James Rossell did not attend it.
The instructor was Martin Blaker who holds senior roles in the RNLI and DEFRA. He also trains other Lowland Rescue teams. He is also a member of Surrey SAR although he doesn’t attend, has never been trained as a search technician. Mr Blaker was also a Trustee of Lowland Rescue.
Enquiries have been made with Rescue 3 regarding the authenticity of James Rossell’s certificate. Currently a check on their website (http://id.rescue3europe.com/) shows this
However, documentation seen by us from Rescue 3 confirms that it is a genuinely issued certificate and skill sheet 0932-0086137 was completed to support the certification.
As James Rossell was physically not on the course, he could not have demonstrated the skills to the instructor Martin Blaker. This raises integrity questions over Martin Blaker and James Rossell as to how this certificate is in existence.
Tim Rowsell is head of the water rescue team along with James Turnbull, both were on the course along with John Burrell who is also on the management team. Tim Rowsell works for the RNLI and is also a special constable in Surrey Police. He is fully aware of what is going on as many people in the water team raised concerns with him. With his RNLI and policing experience he should know the importance of training to high standards and what goes wrong if unqualified resources are used. Why is he not challenging James Rossell and the other Trustees? We expect better from a police officer and from someone in the RNLI.
Three of the management team were on that training course and none has challenged James Rossell over his certification. We expect better from all of the management team and this lack of challenging inappropriate/illegal behaviour illustrates why the Trustees and Management Team at Surrey SAR are not fit for purpose.
Steve Owen-Hughes (Chief Fire Officer of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service) is aware of this so why is he still allowing Surrey SAR to deploy to water rescue incidents when there are serious concerns over the authenticity of qualifications and training?
Would DEFRA and other organisations give Surrey SAR all of the financial grants if they knew that the qualifications were obtained in these circumstances?
Rescue 3 International are fully aware of what is going on at Surrey SAR and tried to cover it up by removing the bogus certificate from the database after initially confirming it was genuine. Can we trust Rescue 3 International as a training and qualification provider if false certification is issued and they don’t effectively deal with those bring their name into disrepute?
Can we trust Surrey SAR, Lowland Rescue and RNLI training qualifications if signed off by Martin Blaker?
The integrity of Mr Blaker is in question over this matter. He needs to explain how Mr Rossell has been certified as competent without attending the course and demonstrating the skills to him.
Can the public trust Lowland Rescue to provide water rescue assistance if their member units are not genuinely qualified?
There are many more questions surrounding this matter and it needs investigating further and the risk managing. Most importantly, are SFRS are putting lives at risk by using people from Surrey SAR with fraudulent qualifications? We think so and we think that SFRS and Surrey Police need to stop using Surrey SAR for water rescue until genuine proof of training can provided.
*** Rescue 3 declined to comment however they did state that if anyone who has received water rescue training from Surrey SAR or Martin Blaker wants to raise concerns in confidence with Rescue 3 they can contact Keith Dudhnath directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01978 869069 ***
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.
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.