For Marine Sergeant Suzanne Crossley, a normal work day involves managing a dive team who work in cold, dark underwater terrain and helping recover crucial evidence.
Sgt Crossley works for Northumbria Police’s Marine and Specialist Search Team and has done for the past four years.
Northumbria Police’s Marine Unit are specially trained in diving and search techniques and cover 120 miles from Berwick all the way down to Ryhope.
Sgt Crossley and her team are regularly deployed to help find missing people, gather intelligence and carry out forensic evidence searches in and around the water.
While the role can be demanding, Sgt Crossley talks about the passion for her job and the varied duties her role requires.
She said: “I love my job- it’s like no other. One day you could be helping recover drugs being imported by sea and the next you’re at the bottom of the Tyne searching for vital evidence in a murder investigation – we have such a vast capability.”
“Most of the time we are working in blind conditions; incredibly dark and murky waters looking for tiny objects from jewellery, keys and mobile phones to weapons of all sizes.”
Northumbria Police have a wide range of facilities and resources at their disposal including a decompression chamber to train diver’s bodies for deep water, three RHIB boats and a pioneer boat as well as a range of diving equipment such as air bags cranes and top diving gear.
Sgt Crossley, who has been with Northumbria Police for 19 years, goes on to say how crucial training is for her role and the dangers her and her team face when in the water.
She said: “Our seven metre diving tank- the only one in the country- provides an excellent training facility for us. We have to keep our training up-to-date as going in the water is very dangerous for officers.
“We work in varied terrains, depths and levels of visibility as well as difficult weather and water conditions. From still lakes on a sunny day to rapid currents on a freezing cold rainy night- we work it all, and we need to make sure we do it safely.”
A lot of planning goes into an operation including making sure all equipment used by divers is appropriate and meets safety standards. Sgt Crossley also has to make sure as much intelligence is gathered as possible in order to put her divers in the water without risking their safety.
The Marine unit also offer regular mutual aid and support to other forces across the country as well as partner agencies including fisheries, the coastguard and border force.
Sgt Crossley finishes by saying: “I’ve loved my time at Northumbria Police so far, I’ve had the pleasure of working in a few different roles including Intelligence Unit, Planning and Area Command Neighbourhood Team.
“I always wanted to have a job where I get to help people. I work with a great team and the job satisfaction I get here is amazing. It’s a difficult job and you’re under a lot of pressure, we use a range of tactics including underwater search patters and specialist equipment. Ultimately we do what we can to protect the public and carry out investigations using our specialist knowledge and skills- I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Sgt Crossley is just one of the amazing people working in Northumbria Police. You can see more of our #ProudOfOurPeople pieces by following us on Facebook and Twitter and by visiting our website https://beta.northumbria.police.uk/latest-news/
Anyone interested in a career with the police can find information on the Northumbria Police website at www.northumbria.police.uk.