DESPITE working unsociable shifts, numerous police officers and other emergency services staff also volunteer for Bolton Mountain Rescue Team.
Insp Michael Eddleston, aged 48, who works are a force duty inspector in Greater Manchester Police's operational communication branch in North Manchester, has been a police officer for nearly 21 years.
Insp Eddleston said: “I live in Bolton and I work in GMP’s North Manchester control team — that’s how I got involved as it’s me and my colleagues who call BMRT and other teams out.
“It’s the camaraderie and helping people that I enjoy about it. I work in a control room so it’s getting back out and doing what I joined the police for.
“It’s the getting out in the open air I enjoy. It keeps up your fitness levels and it’s doing something for the community.”
He said he brings to the team his police training, including his advanced driving skills which enable him to drive the charity’s vehicle with its blue lights on — but he has to stick to speed limits in his BMRT role.
"His experience has also assisted volunteers when they come across a potential crime scene.
In his job he deals with four other rescue teams, including Oldham Mountain Rescue Team.
Insp Eddleston is a former traffic officer and motorway officer so his experience and specialist training has been beneficial for the team when assisting at a road accident.
He said due to his shift patterns he is sometimes available to assist in BMRT incidents at short notice when others are at work.
He has also attended jobs straight from finishing shifts.
But at some incidents he has had to make the call about whether his police powers, which can be used while off duty, need to be used while representing the charity.
The team once had to deal with a drunk woman who was kicking out at cars. The group managed to keep her safe until on-duty officers attended.
PC Melanie Jackson, from Bolton Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, and PC Jane Wilcock, from the partnership and licensing team, have also attended a weekend training course with BMRT to get a greater understanding of the volunteers’ work.
PC Jackson said: “I think the mountain rescue team do a fantastic job and the skills and dedication of the team are outstanding.
“I first recognised their value when they assisted with a search for a high-risk missing person and was very impressed with their equipment and the numbers of volunteers who turned out.
PC Wilcock said: “BMRT can always be relied upon to act professionally at all incidents and I am proud to say I have got to know some of the team.
“Through spending a weekend on a training exercise in October with the team, I saw the high levels of commitment, skill and dedication of each team member. Their camaraderie and humour is matched only by their warmth towards all who they meet and work with.
“The team is constantly fundraising to fund this expensive and essential service and volunteers are a credit to the people of Bolton.”
Garry Rhodes, chairman of BMRT, said: “Members of the emergency services bring to the team workings of their own organisations.
“It also helps us not only with the knowledge but also we have a much better understanding of how other organisations work by having those members with us.
“Insp Eddleston heads up the control room for GMP — that gives us a very unique insight into police operations. I don’t know for sure but I suspect he is the only mountain rescue volunteer in his role.”
He added: “PC Jackson and PC Wilcock help the team as they are local beat officers that can support the work we do at the ground level.
“They approached us just to get an awareness of what we do and they have been a tremendous in spreading the word.”
He said the majority of the work carried out by the charitable group involves working with the North West Ambulance Service in assisting injured people.
Work with the police can be more lengthy as it can involve searching for missing people.