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Peer reviewing before a suspension

Page updated: 30 November 2020

If you're the Incident Controller, you need to get a qualified person to peer review the SAR operation before you suspend it.

For Category I searches, refer to the Police SAR Chapter for details of the procedures and documentation to manage search suspension.

Peer reviewers must consider evidence

They need to examine evidence to see whether:

  • the search plan is complete
  • all areas were searched appropriately
  • all clues were analysed appropriately
  • all available information has been collected and organised
  • all scenarios have been investigated appropriately
  • more intelligence is required or able to be obtained
  • the rest of the world (ROW) was appropriately eliminated
  • all documentation is complete and organised
  • the probability of detection (POD) for marine searches is appropriate.


Peer reviewers must consider the context

This includes the planning and execution of the SAR operation in relation to:

  • the safety of SAR resources responding to the incident
  • the weather
  • the terrain
  • the state of the sea.

Peer reviews should also consider:

  • the sustainability of the search
  • communications with the subject's family
  • media reporting about the incident.


Peer reviewers must consider the use of specialist resources

This can include:

  • police intelligence sections (via the police district SAR coordinator)
  • the police Criminal Investigation Branch (via the police district SAR coordinator))
  • search and rescue specialists, such as alpine cliff rescue teams, caving specialists, specialists in white water activities, or any other relevant specialist
  • the coroner.


Peer reviewers can agree with the recommendation to suspend the SAR operation

If the peer reviewer agrees with the decision to suspend, they must formally record this. Once this is done and all other conditions are met, the operation may be suspended. Other conditions include:

  • informing the family of the subject
  • formal approval
  • requirements for minimum timeframe.


Peer reviewers may recommend further SAR activity and investigation

In this case, if you are the Incident Controller, you must satisfy the peer reviewer’s recommendations. You must then consult the reviewer again about the outcome of those recommendations.

Do not suspend a SAR operation until:

  • the peer review is complete
  • the peer reviewer agrees with any further recommendations to suspend the SAR operation
  • formal approval is given.
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