Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 1 February 2015

PSNI officers help Cumbria police

People look at floral tributes that have been left close to the scene where taxi driver Darren Rewcastle was shot in Whitehaven, Cumbria.
People look at floral tributes that have been left close to the scene where taxi driver Darren Rewcastle was shot in Whitehaven, Cumbria.
Gunman: Derrick Bird
Police on Hagget End Road, in Egremont, where a person was shot dead when taxi driver Derrick Bird went on a shooting rampage in the Lake District
A police officer guards a murder crime scene caused by gunman Derrick Bird on June 2, 2010 in Seascale, England
A female police officer places a floral tribute at the scene of a murder caused by gunman Derrick Bird on June 2, 2010 in Whitehaven, England
Floral tributes lie at the scene of a murder caused by gunman Derrick Bird on June 2, 2010 in Whitehaven, England
A Police officer stands guard beside an unidentified body on Bridge Road on June 02, 2010 in Whitehaven, England
A police woman stands guard beside an unidentified body outside the Red Admiral pub on June 02, 2010 in the Seascale area, England
Police officers stand guard beside an unidentified body on Bridge Road on June 02, 2010 in Whitehaven, England
Police officers cordon off an area where an unidentied body lies on the road side verge on June 02, 2010 in the Seascale area, England
Police stand next to a body covered by a blanket following a shooting on Duke Street, Whitehaven, Cumbria,
Derrick Bird
Derrick Bird

Police officers from Northern Ireland were drafted in to field calls from relatives frantically trying to find out if their loved ones were caught up in the Cumbria gun massacre.

The phone support was requested by the Cumbria Constabulary as the scale of the tragedy became clear on Wednesday afternoon, enabling them to free up police men and women to attend the 30 crime scenes.

Around 30 specially trained officers were called into the casualty bureau phone centre at PSNI HQ in east Belfast to take calls for around six hours from family members desperate for information.

Taxi driver Derrick Bird murdered 12 people and injured 11 others in a crazed shooting spree in the rural county.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said the link-up was a good example of police forces working together and pooling resources.

"Really it's not about the accent of who is answering your call, it's that someone does answer your call and answers it effectively, taking and recording your details and your concerns," he said.

"I think it was critically important that we as a police service PLC for the United Kingdom were able to offer a resource and in effect could then pool together to assist each other."

Details of the call support were outlined at Thursday's monthly meeting of the Northern Ireland Policing Board in Belfast.

Acting chair of the board Brian Rea thanked the officers involved.

"Of course, today our thoughts are with the families of those who have been killed and injured in Cumbria yesterday," he said.

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