Who are we?

Dave Perkins and Pete Roberts have been involved in Search and Rescue as members of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team since the early 1970s.

They formed The Centre for Search Research in 1997 to enable them to pursue their interest in topics and techniques relating to searching and search management. The company became a UK registered charity in the same year.

Carl Hamilton, a member of the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) since 1985, joined the company in 2012.

Dave, Pete and Carl are all former Team Leaders of NNPMRT and have many years experience of incident and search management and the co-ordination and management of multi agency response to such incidents.

The Centre for Search Research is organised and run by a management group of trustees.  Please see below for further information.

The Centre for Search Research has been involved in a variety of activities, for example:

  • developing and teaching incident management courses
  • developing and teaching search field skills courses
  • analysis of the data and production of the regular reports for the UK missing persons behaviour study
  • lecturing and presenting on a number of SAR topics at conferences in the UK and overseas
  • research and development of techniques for search management and search field skills
  • contemporary research into emerging technology and its use and effectiveness in SAR
  • collaboration with other organisations and institutions
  • creating and developing key concepts and practices now generally accepted and widely used by SAR teams around the world, for example:
    • The concept of the Initial Response phase
    • The concepts of Critical Distance and Critical Separation
    • The Northumberland Rain Dance
    • Purposeful Wandering
    • The Sector Ladder
    • Application of The Six Step Process
    • Development of the Misper-UK App to aid search managers

Directors & Trustees

Click on a picture to find out more


Click on a picture to find out more

Associate members

Ged Feeney

Former Incident Statistics Officer, MREW

Vincent Farr

Former OIC - Irish Coast Guard, Crosshaven

Niall Fearns

Irish Coast Guard

Tim O'Keefe

Sector Manager, Irish Coast Guard

Rick LaValla

Emergency Response Institute (ERI) International

Professor Ken Hill

Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Bob Pattison

Former Trustee

John Steele

Former Trustee

Steve Wood


Nick Coyne


Oisin McGrath

DroneSAR, CEO. Helicopter Pilot Instructor, Drone Instructor & Examiner

Gearoid O'Briain

DroneAR, Sales Director. Flight Instructor, Drone Instructor & Examiner

Gordon Millward

Former Chief Superintendent with Northumbria Police and former Trustee of TCSR

Steve Hughes

Professor of International Organisations at Newcastle University Business School. Former member of Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team and former Trustee of TCSR

Richard Smith

SAR Consultant with the Search and Rescue Institute (SARI), Alberta, Canada

Safeguarding Policy