What is RRI Northern Scotland and What Do They Do?

We're pleased to be supporting the Response Rescue International (RRI) - here we find out more about how the RRI was set up.

RRI was set up over a year ago by Craig Howarth, a serving Police Dog Instructor, an ACPO/NPCC GP instructor and NASDU level 2 & 3 GP instructor, along with John Miskelly a human remains detection dog handler and NTIPDU Tracking/Trailing instructor, and Paul Murphy, a human remains detection dog handler/instructor from Southern Ireland.

The original idea was to have a fully equipped Search & Rescue (SAR) team ready and available to assist other SAR units, the Police and other responsible agencies.

A constitution was set up which included who RRI are, what we do and how our training was to be carried out. Additionally, it included how assessments were to be carried out when a handler & dog had completed a period of training.

It was decided that RRI would have two teams, one based in Scotland with another team that would cover both England and Wales;

- Paul Murphy in Carlow, Southern Ireland would continue to assist with the Garda (the national police service of the Republic of Ireland) in callouts for missing persons.

- Craig Howarth would be responsible for the training in England and Wales with John Miskelly for the training in Scotland.

Today the team has grown and has several other Search & Rescue teams on board across both Europe & USA who are responsible for their own training & assessments but are all under the RRI banner.

The team in Scotland has a membership of five personnel, three members who are tracking & trailing and two who are human remains recovery handlers:

The tracking and trailing handlers with their dogs carry out a training period of 12 months and within that period are tested in both rural & urban areas. Handlers are taught line handling skills, reading their dogs' recovery of the scent trail and how to handle scent articles that might belong to the missing person. As training takes place in rural areas, the distances of the trails are extensive.

Handlers within the RRI North Scotland team have also completed a water safety course, mental health awareness training and in the coming days will undertake a search tech training course. The team also has members of Joint Civil Aid Corps (JCAC), who are UK wide. At times, JCAC is called upon to assist Police Fire & Rescue as well as Ambulance crews. 

RRI North Scotland team has had invites to train in Czech Republic with 5 other Search & Rescue teams as well as an invite to attend a SAR training camp in Indonesia.

Keep your eye out for our next blogs on how we train our rescue does and some tips and tricks you can use to train your dog.