They are trained by and execute necrosearch operations at the request of the DVI team (Disaster Victim Identification) of the federal police. This implies that they locate and exhume buried or hidden victims of murder or manslaughter. These interventions are always executed in cooperation with a large number of partners, such as the Cell Missing Persons of the federal police, dog handlers, police physicians, odontologists, photographers, architects, social assistants of the Red Cross, ...

Because these search operations often are very demanding psychologically speaking and  negligence during necrosearch operations can lead to the irrevocably disappearing of evidence, a specialized training is necessary to be part of the IBIS team. Future IBIS experts are initiated in all aspects of necrosearch during one week: identification of missing or deceased persons, deontological methods, excavation techniques, ... The excavations by the DVI team always take place in the framework of a judicial inquiry. The importance of an accurate methodology therefore constantly is emphasized during the training, because an excavation cannot be redone.

As soon as the area that needs to be searched is defined, the IBIS teams of the Civil Protection come into action with a crane and excavators. The intervening persons wear disposable clothes, masks and gloves that are regularly replaced to protect them (manipulation of corpses) and to not run the risk of adding interfering traces. The soil is cautiously excavated, centimetre per centimetre, under the watchful eye of the experts of DVI. Then a long sieving operation follows in order not to overlook any clues. Besides excavators, sometimes cranes, pumps, salvage containers and thermographic cameras are used as well for searching and excavating deceased persons.

Each intervention is concluded by a visit of the IBIS team to the psychologists of the stress team of the federal police. Talking about these search actions in often horrifying circumstances, helps the members in the coping process. The best known intervention in the past few years is the one in the framework of the dossier Dutroux, but our IBIS teams also contributed their bit after the tsunami in Thailand.

Call IBIS teams

The Cell Missing Persons of the federal police that centralizes these calls for the police, contacts –depending on the localization of the excavation- the operational unit of the Civil Protection that is territorially competent.