WEST Mercia Police has released a statement regarding the dive team response to yesterday's incident in the river Avon at Evesham.
Read it in full below.

The requirement for a Police Dive Team at Hampton Ferry yesterday was identified within minutes of the incident being reported. The officer in command of the incident at that time (Chief Inspector Iain Bailey) made a request for a Dive Team at 9:30 a.m..

Very few forces have Police Divers. The closest available on this occasion was Avon & Somerset Constabulary’s Dive Team.

The request was passed as a priority and we received an excellent response from our colleagues in Avon & Somerset, with their team arriving within 97 minutes of the original request being made. Once they had arrived, it took only a further 12 minutes for them to rescue the child from the submerged vehicle.

At the time of the original request Avon & Somerset’s Dive Team were involved in an underwater search for a missing person in the Gloucestershire Police area. They had to suspend that search, remove and stow equipment and then drive to Evesham.

West Mercia Police does not have its own Dive Team. There are only nine such Police Dive Teams across England, Wales and Scotland. Their services are available to other Forces according to various regional and collaborative arrangements. Police officers are not trained or equipped to enter rivers in order to rescue people. They are trained and equipped to make rescues from riverbanks.

The risks involved in untrained and ill-equipped officers entering the water in these circumstances are generally too high to contemplate. The would-be rescuers can easily become casualties themselves, further reducing the chances for a safe recovery of the original casualties.

On this occasion the Fire Brigade, who are trained and equipped for surface rescue were on scene very quickly. In the interim the first officers at the scene were able to get two people out of the water, after they had freed themselves from the submerged car. Colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service and two regional Air Ambulances provided emergency treatment for the casualties at the scene and en route to hospital.

The River Avon at Hampton Ferry is about 20 metres wide, at least 15 feet deep in places and fast flowing at this time of year, with strong undercurrents. The water is extremely cold. Low water temperature induces rapid hypothermia, inability to swim or move properly and leads to a high risk of drowning.

The response of all the emergency services to this incident demonstrated our ability to work together to save life.

Q. What is the procedure for requesting a Dive Team?
A. This is done between the relevant Force Control rooms by means of flash messages.

Q. What happens then?
A. The Force Control room contacts the designated supervisor, who in turn makes contact with the Dive Team.

Q. How long did this take?
A. About 30-40 minutes from the time of the original request.

Q. When did west Mercia first have direct contact with the Dive Team?
A. 10:12 on 11th February - at which time they were in the water searching for a missing person in Gloucestershire.

Q. Which forces have Police Dive Teams?
Metropolitan Police Thames Valley Police Strathclyde Police Humberside police Devon & Cornwall Constabulary South Wales Police Hampshire Constabulary Avon & Somerset Constabulary Forces in the Northwest of England have a Regional Team