Police Search Adviser (PolSA)

Job Family Operational Support
Job Sub Family Specialists Operations
Code OPS-SPOP-TL-Police Search Adviser v1.0

Role Purpose

Acts as a Chief Officer’s adviser on counter-terrorism search and other search-related matters, planning searches and controlling search teams on low risk and other police search operations, and supporting and developing search team and force search training.

Key Accountabilities

  • Conduct required checks prior to searching, liaising with appropriate departments and specialists, to assist effective search planning.
  • Obtain and advise on the necessary and required authorities to ensure searches are conducted legally.
  • Plan searches in accordance with threat and vulnerability assessments, taking into account the objective of the search, risk assessments, resource requirements (including specialist equipment) and suitably trained personnel and contingencies to mitigate the threat and provide a high level of assurance.
  • Brief and task personnel assisting in the search using appropriate briefing guidelines to provide clarity and uniformity to the individuals involved in the operation.
  • Conduct safe and thorough systematic searches in accordance with relevant legislation, including human rights legislation, policy and procedures to ensure searches are carried out effectively and safely.
  • Recover exhibits and relevant evidence to assist with prosecutions.
  • Manage search operations, responding dynamically when required, to ensure the effectiveness of the search is maintained.
  • Record details of searches to comply with legislation and policy.
  • Conduct debriefs of involved personnel and input information back into the intelligence system to aid future planning.
  • Plan and manage searches for missing people in order to locate the missing person, protect vulnerable people and gain intelligence and evidence for prosecution if required.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior education and experience:

  • Must be a current licensed search officer.
  • Must be occupationally competent by passing Police Search Advisers Course.
  • Must be confirmed as operationally competent by an in-force mentoring programme signed off by a Chief Officer.


  •  Able to set out logical arguments clearly, adapting language, form and message to meet the needs of different people / audiences.
  • Able to identify cause and effect and develop a course of action designed to target root causes and mitigate risks.
  • Able to develop and motivate a team and create strong engagement of individuals with their personal and team objectives and with Force values, behaviours and strategic priorities.
  • Able to identify exceptional situations that merit recognition and to take appropriate action.
  • Able to identify situations that require disciplinary action and to respond appropriately.
  • Able to review and assess individual and team performance against expected standards, providing objective and effective feedback and ensuring corrective actions are taken where necessary.
  • Able to plan ahead; to allocate work appropriately within the team and to identify and mitigate risks to delivery.
  • Able to identify key stakeholders, understand potential roles and to take appropriate steps to understand their needs and concerns.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  • Combine exercises with outside agencies e.g. Fire Brigade, Military or Search and Rescue.
  • Assist with training packages for search level 1 and level 2 including re-licensing.
  • Keep up to date with developments within the search community through ‘Search News’, ‘Ops Flash’ or POLKA.
  • Attend annual PolSA CPD event.
  • Assist with College of Policing LSO and PolSA courses.
  • Conduct peer reviews of live and historic incidents.

Professional Registration/Licenses

Undertake a minimum of four searches in a twelve month period, with no period of inactivity greater than six months, maintain an operational competence assessment and portfolio log and relicense every 3 to 5 years by attending a recognised course to remain in license.

Links to other Profiles

NPoCC Mercury Profile – Police Search Adviser (PolSA) 63 v2

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