Pete Roberts

Pete Roberts

Pete Roberts has been a member of Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team (NNPMRT) since 1973 and has been their Team Leader on two occasions.  In the 1980’s with Dave Perkins he co-authored the idea of Critical Separation and Purposeful Wandering and recent work has linked these concepts to Search Theory and search in the initial response phase of an incident.

In 1998 he co-founded The Centre for Search Research (TCSR), a UK based registered charity, and has co-authored a variety of SAR related papers and the UK Missing Person Behaviour Study which are all available at 

He has extensive knowledge and experience of managing Search and Rescue (SAR) Incidents and is one of NNPMRT’s Duty Controllers. He has presented on the subject at SAR conferences throughout the UK, Ireland, US and Canada.  TCSR teach courses on search management and field search skills to volunteer SAR groups and to the Police and has recently been extensively involved in training Irish Civil Defence and Irish Coast Guard personnel in all aspects of search for a missing person.  Pete is currently working with TCSR colleagues and in collaboration with Newcastle University, on a major research project to establish the effectiveness of drones in search.

Exercise Northumberland

12 Oct 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Exercise Northumberland was a major exercise set up to evaluate the performance of aerial and ground-based search assets, based on earlier work, in 1987, by the UK Home Office known as 'The O'Donnell Theory'.  It set out to update these historical findings based on current approaches and methodologies for searching on the ground and developments in aerial technology. 

Both Initial Response and Intermediate Phase search techniques were employed by both ground searchers and aerial assets including fixed and rotary wing piloted aircraft and fixed and rotary wing drones.  An evaluation of the performance of each search asset was made.

The challenges and logistics of setting up such an exercise will be discussed; the performance and effectiveness of each asset will be reported on and an outline of future research based on the outcomes of the exercise will be given.