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Scenario-based Assessment.


Scenario-based searching assesses the reasons for the loss of an object or the disappearance of a person and can be used alone or in conjunction with an appreciation. 


Consideration is given to all factors that may assist or impede the discovery of the missing person or object. A search strategy is developed from this in the eight stage process as described below. 


This method presents a better alternative to speculative searching as it is based on a full evaluation of all information available. 


It also allows for the consideration of multiple scenarios and ensures that the most appropriate assets available are used. If more than one scenario emerges, action must be prioritised according to the relevant merits of each scenario and the resources available. 



The eight stage process, SCENARIO, is a mnemonic designed to ensure that all of the objectives are achieved when searching for any type of object. 


S Specify person or item sought 

C Confirm last location 

Establish circumstances of disappearance 

N Note factors influencing discovery
Analyse possible strategies
R Raise search strategies 

Identify priority search 

Ongoing reassessment

Specify item sought: Ensure a full and detailed description of the person or item sought, 

including clothing. This will enable recognition of any discards items of clothing or parts. 


Confirm last location: The Last Known Position (LKP) should be used as the point to begin the initial search. The LKP can be either the location when the target was seen by a credible witness or the location identified from clues or evidence. If the target is responsive and self helping the LKP may change as cluse and evidence are located. This may also identify a 

direction of travel. 


Establish circumstances of disappearance: This is the examination of the disappearance to determine why and how it occurred. All facts should be considered. 


Note factors influencing discovery: It is important to keep the search area contained and free of extraneous distractions such as other members of the public. Family of the target may also have a detrimental effect of the search. Other factors that may hamper discovery are the terrain, weather, resources and the need to preserve clues if the search is running parallel with a criminal inquiry. 


Analyse possible strategies: What are the likely scenarios from the above information? 

What happened for the person to become missing? 


Raise search strategies: A search strategy should be planned for the most likely scenario, based on resources available, search areas, containment and possible routes. If one scenario stands out a search should be instigated immediately. Searches of areas and routes must be achievable by the allocated resources within the allotted time. 


Identify priority search: The above information will identify the priority search area. This area may change as further information comes to hand. As resources become available further scenarios can be searched. Where resources are limited, the area of highest priority should be given preference. The decision making process behind this needs to be recorded in the running log. 


Ongoing reassessment: The whole process must de continually reassessed to ensure the appropriate use of available resources within the high priority scenario. It is also prudent to seek the opinions of another SAR trained personnel in the form of a consensus.