Body Recovery From Water Study


About the author

Lorna Dennison-Wilkins is a serving police sergeant and a licenced police search adviser.

Prior to it being disbanded Lorna was the officer in charge of the specialist search unit of Sussex Police, which specialised in all types of search including above and underwater search.

The Body Recovery From Water summary

This research collects data and shares analysis of this data with the search community, investigation teams and other relevant parties regarding body recoveries in inland water to make us more effective in the search and recovery of bodies and to aid the resulting investigation.

It is by the search community – for the search community.

What are the aims of the study?

To collect and share data with the international search community, investigation teams and other interested parties regarding the movement of bodies in inland water.

To enhance learning to make us more effective in the searching for and recovery of bodies in water.

To minimise the risk to search team personnel.

To enable us to try and reduce search time to gain an earlier resolution in missing person cases.

To provide sanitised data to public bodies so measures can be made to prevent drowning incidents.

More about the study

The first 280 cases on the database have been statistically analysed and relationships have been found between buoyancy of a body and the amount of clothing, age, manner of death, footwear type and fabric type. Experimentation is ongoing to explore these variables further.

The collection of data is ongoing and further analysis will take place once there are 500 cases and this will continue every 200 cases thereafter.

A predictive model has been built so that we could give a statistical percentage of the probability of a body being on the surface or below surface, this will be developed so that we can use the data as a tool to help searchers prioritise search areas.

The Body Recovery From Water Study continues to collect cases which can be submitted via a secure link on the study website or via email

To visit the study website please click