Lincoln Award – Florida Day 4

Story By Martyn Linton

Day two of Gangs class starts at 8am. I’ve sunk a few coffees after a semi late night and I’m ready for the days learning. The learning for the day is investigative techniques, the development of intelligence and social media.

The training location is home to a number of police recruits and at the beginning of the day it is a pleasure to see the respect shown as they salute as the US flag is raised and they say their oath. The recruits have an almost regimental appearance about them. It is yes sir, immaculate uniforms, marching to class after parade and stopping to allow experienced cops to pass in hallways.

At lunchtime I was taken to a Cuban restaurant by the class instructor and two local detectives. Having never eaten Cuban food before I enjoyed the experience.

After class I was collected by Lieutenant Gary Dukeman from the St Petersburg Police Department. He is in charge of the training centre. Lt Dukeman took me on a tour of the city police HQ. As we wondered around the building it was interesting to hear how they operate and what the different teams did. I did have to giggle when I met the Chief’s PA. I was introduced as a Detective from the UK and on hearing this I learned I was not the only visitor who had visited from the UK. GMP and Cumbria had beaten me to it.

When my tour ended I met my ride along for the evening called Matt. Matt is a dog handler in the city and after introductions I looked around his patrol vehicle. The kit he was carrying would prepare most for war. I had to ask why cops in the city carried so much. It was explained that in the event of an active shooter it was all hands to the pump until SWAT could arrive. It makes sense with so many guns out there. I couldn’t help but think about useless I would be in the UK if faced with that and it was scary.

We hit the streets. We had the chat about difference in UK/US policing culture. Yes the unarmed topic came up! I had spoken about my course that I was completing in Florida. Matt took me into some gang neighbourhoods. The houses had wooden slats on the external part of the house. As we sat talking I could see several bullet holes in the wood of one house. Matt explained to me that the holes followed a drive by shooing. He also explained that the area had suffered with a number of drive by shootings which had lead to them closing the road at one end of the estate to prevent ease of access/escape. The poverty in the area could not be ignored – it hits you straight in the face.

Towards the end of the evening we heard a officer on the radio who had a male run away from him as he approached him taking drugs in a park. Unlucky for that male when he popped out at the opposite end of the park we happened to be driving past. He was detained and whilst the drugs use did not result in an arrest he still went to jail as he had a outstanding warrant!

I could have stayed out with Matt all night but I had my final day of class the following day so shortly after 10 pm we said our goodbyes outside my hotel and I went in for much needed beauty sleep.

This trip was part funded by the Lincoln Award granted by IPA Section UK. Membership of the IPA has several benefits. Visit http://www.ipa-uk.org for details and how to join.

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Lincoln Award – Florida Day 3

Story By Martyn Linton

I started the day at half six in the morning feeling a little sorry for myself. After the visiting the County Sheriff’s Office the night before I got drinking in the hotel bar with a couple who were from another US state. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess.

After breakfast and a taxi ride to the college I was taught about proactive use of gang informants, intelligence strategies and investigative tactics – the detail I cannot go into.

I had been invited by Ricky my contact with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office to attend the Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Night. This was a demonstration by a number of Special Ops teams to community members being held at a local airport. After class I was in a cab and straight off to join in.

I arrived and heard officers from units such as the helicopter team, diving team, SWAT team and DUI Unit (a proactive traffic unit who target impaired driving) talking about their work. My contact Ricky outed me to the group as a visiting Detective from the U.K. which generated some interest from those present and other cops. After the talks everyone went outside for a dog handler demonstration by a K9 Officer.

I walked around the site and spoke with the different teams that had equipment and vehicles on display. It was good to compare how things are done in the US compared to the UK. I always say it’s a small world. The Captain in charge of the Special Ops Team approached me and said his neighbour was a cop with my force Surrey Police. Small world indeed!

The time came for me to leave as I needed some food and sleep as had class the following morning. I left having learned about policing culture in the US and with an invite from the Captain to ride along with the DUI Unit.

Thank you Ricky for the invite and thank you to the officers who I spoke with during this event.

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Lincoln Award – Florida Day 2

Story By Martyn Linton

This was the day my trip would properly kick off in terms of my US law enforcement culture learning.

I travelled to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office which was located around ten miles north of my hotel. Here I met Ricky who is their Community Programs Manager. We had spoken by email a couple of weeks prior to me arriving.

After introductions , a chat about the structure of the organisation and the IPA tradition of exchanging gifts I was taken on a tour of their HQ.

We entered the yard and straight away I saw a general purpose patrol vehicle which I simply found eye opening. This car was a 5.0 litre beast! I couldn’t help but to picture in my head some of the patrol cars I’ve driven and the high mileage Vauxhall Astra that wasn’t fit to keep chickens in was a shocking comparison!

I saw other vehicles but my day three blog will talk about them as they feature in an event I attended today. What did catch my eye was two military vehicles. What on earth are they for? It was explained that the Sheriff’s Office get end of line military vehicles for very low cost and they are commissioned for police use. The vehicles above are used when there is a natural disaster such as a hurricane etc.

We then went for a drive. I was taken to the County Jail. Here it was explained how the custody process pre trial and post conviction works. After this I was taken to the K9 School and Firearms Training Centre.

Whilst cruising down the highway I got sight of a Florida Highway Patrol car attending a collision. Their vehicle was interesting. It was far from the blue and yellow hi viz we have in the U.K. and by all accounts is a bit faster.

The time came for me to return to my hotel and the following day (today) I was due to start the training course I flew out to complete. The course being Gangs The Transnational Threat – Target The Entire Gang. More on that in my next post.

I found my visit to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office most enjoyable and I want to publicly thank my contact Ricky.

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Lincoln Award – Florida Day 1

Story by Martyn Linton

In October 2017 I wrote about my happiness at being awarded the first ever Lincoln Award given by Section UK.

I had applied for the Arthur Troop Scholarship to attend the US to take part in a course titled Gangs The Transnational Threat – Target The Entire Gang. There were other candidates for this scholarship but no one from the U.K. was successful. Applications are reviewed by the international board. The Lincoln Award is a U.K. alternative.

The course is one that is attended by various US law enforcement agencies and dates are announced as and when so I had a wait to find out when I could attend. That’s date is this week and after two flights I now find myself in St Petersburg, Florida.

I arrived late last night and when I got to my room I introduced myself to the bed and crashed! I woke up later on and the minus five hour time difference threw me at first when I saw 7am. I went back to sleep!

I got up a couple of hours later and went for breakfast. The friendly waitress kept the coffee mug topped up. Today was a day of leisure. I decided to go for a walk so after studying a map off I went. I was armed with a Section UK challenge coin for the first cop I bumped into who said hello.

I covered about six miles during my walk. I walked around the marina, explored an area with local bars and visited the local court house. It was a hot day and all of a sudden the heavens opened and within minutes I went from dripping sweat to being the UK’s contestant for the unattractive wet t shirt competition. I didn’t care as it was nice to cool off.

I headed back to the hotel to dry off and change clothes. Then I ate lunch which was washed down with a bottle of Melbec. The boring stuff followed. Ironing of clothes that had been stuffed into a bag for the journey.

A bit later on I went downstairs and sat at the bar where I got talking to a couple of locals and other people who lived in the US but were visiting the area. The question was asked where I was from and why I was there. I was comfortable to tell them. It was a nice atmosphere where I wasn’t watching my back. Those who know me will know how I have my back to a wall and people watch when I’m a bar. I blame working doors when I was a youngster and my career.

I was very taken back at how the US citizens view the role of a Detective. Firstly there is the it’s a type of promotion view. Then there was the general respect for law enforcement. What followed was general chat about the difference in crime trends and interestingly the debate about legalising of Cannabis. In the US some states have legalised it.

The highlight of my afternoon/evening was an email from a lady called Gail who has been my link to the course. This is a lady I will meet in a couple of days but already have labelled a ‘International Legend’. The email was to invite me to have a ride along with a local Dog Handler. Who am I to say no?

Tomorrow (or later today) I visit the Pinella County Sheriff’s Department. I am truly taken back by the hospitality the US are giving me!

This opportunity would not have been possible without my membership to the International Police Association.

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ASP Instructor Seminar – Gimborn

Story By Martin Turner – BTP Branch Secretary

April 2018 saw me attend my first full length Gimborn Seminar as a student. The title of the course was ‘ASP Instructor’ but the focus was more generally on Defensive Tactics. Two German IPA friends were attending/chairing the seminar so I couldn’t say no!

I drove to Germany, via a ferry, very early on the morning of 2nd April, arriving at Gimborn Castle at around 15:30. As usual, a warm welcome was received from the staff and fellow students. I settled into my lovely en-suite ‘IPA Dusseldorf’ room and soon found my way to the Turmbar (Tower Bar) to meet some of my fellow students. I also met the instructors, Liam and John from Ireland, who clearly knew their stuff.

The first day involved some administration work in the classroom, form filling in and a brief theory input from the ASP Instructors. It became clear that not only would we be instructed in various Officer Safety techniques, we would also be trained and accredited as instructors ourselves, if we passed! Needless to say this wasn’t going to be an ‘easy’ week…

We were taken to a nearby gym hall in minibuses, equipped with our duty belts and sports gear. The hall had been well prepared and the various ASP pieces of duty and training kit ready for use

The first day consisted of unarmed and baton techniques and drills. Unlike the UK, everything was built up to full power and full speed. Partners rushed at you and showed no mercy! It was a great way to learn and far more realistic than usual training. It was also exhausting!

Day two built on day one and introduced the four types of handcuffs produced by ASP, chain, hinge, rigid and tri-fold. It was great to learn such simple and quick techniques without over-complicating anything. After a lovely packed lunch we learned Flashlight drills, using a bright torch to distract and disorient your subject. We then ran through a selection of circle and post drills, including against the ‘Red Man’ to put all our learning into practice. Another exhausting day!

Day three was the toughest day. It involved running through the two day Officer Safety training programme in one day, taught by us (students) whilst being assessed as instructors and students. Each student taught the lesson allocated to him/her in their native language. It was interesting being taught in Cantonese, Sri Lankan, Luxembourgish and Maltese to name a few!

At the end of the day a short awards ceremony was held with even more gifts from ASP being handed out. The instructors were thanked and it was off to get ready for the traditional Thursday ‘International Night’.

The International night involved an amazing BBQ cooked by our German colleagues, with a little help from the Netherlands, and the usual exchange of patches and challenge coins. Local delicacies such as sweets, chocolate, meats and cheese were swapped, along with a variety of local tipples from each other’s countries… The 2011 Vintage Churchill Port I procured at the last IPA House of Commons tour went down very well, along with bottles of Glenmorangie and Talisker single malt.

Day four saw some tired and sore heads at breakfast! But we were looking forward to our next input at the gym. A member of the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) police’s Spezialeinsatzkommando tactical unit gave his morning to train as in knife defence tactics. We learned and practiced some great new skills from the officer. Skills his team have learned the hard way.

We returned to Gimborn for lunch and then spent the afternoon receiving inputs around identifying and dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices, delivered by the NRW Police’s tactical bomb disposal unit. The trainer clearly knew his stuff and had a wealth of experience in his field.

Friday evening saw us being coached into Cologne city centre for some sight-seeing and a lovely meal in a traditional Brauhaus. Accompanied by copious amounts of Kolsch of course!

Saturday, our final day, saw some scenario training. This was really excellent and put all the week’s training and theory into practice. We searched for IEDs and fought knife wielding subjects. We then had a constructive feedback session and closed the course. A thoroughly enjoyable, challenging and worthwhile seminar which I would recommend anyone to go on!

The International Police Association host a number of police related seminars at Gimborn Castle in Germany. This is an example of subjects available to members of the IPA. For information on how to join the IPA please visit http://www.ipa-uk.org 

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All Change In The London North Branch

Last night I stepped down as Chair of the London North Branch, a post I have held for the last couple of years. I had the pleasure of welcoming the new Vice Chair and Chair to the committee and having the opportunity to share a beer with both of them.

During my time as the Chair I have worked very hard with dedicated committee members behind the scenes to make the branch the success it has become. Without their efforts and the participation of branch members the branch would not be where it is today. Thank you to all of you.

 Eren Emin – Chair                           Stuart Wratten – Vice Chair

I hope that you will welcome them both to their roles and will support them in the same way as you have supported me during my time as Chair.

I will remain as the Regional Secretary for 9 Region (Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, BTP and North London areas) and will dedicate my time to that role. I will be prioritising promotion, events and member recruitment.

Yours in friendship

Martyn Linton
Former Branch Chair – London North

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Ceremony Of The Keys Events

Post By Martyn Linton – London North Branch Chair

The London North Branch have had the pleasure of attending the Tower Of London on two occasions for the Ceremony Of the keys event. The visits took place on the 14th of November 2017 and 22 May 2018.

For those who do not know what the Ceremony Of The Keys is it is the daily traditional ceremony that takes place where the Tower Of London is locked. This ceremony has taken place everyday for hundreds of years and takes place at the same time everyday without fail.

On both occassions we met at the Wetherspoons pub across the road where members had a drink or two before the event started. At the start of the event members met their tour guide who welcomed the group and talked through what would be happening. It was a pleasure to meet members from the Thames Valley Branch at the second event.

We were taken on a guided tour around the very impressive venue where we made a number of stops to be told about the history of the point in question. The history spanning several hundred years was very interesting to hear.

After the tour we were welcomed to the Yeoman Warders Bar for a few drinks before we witnessed the formal ceremony. When the time came to watch the main event we were taken to what is known as Traitors Gate – the entrance where traitors were brought to the tower by boat to face imprisonment/execution. We stood and watched the soldiers wearing their pristine uniforms start the ceremony.

We followed the ceremony as it moved around the corner towards the main tower and observed the formal process that takes place. When it had finished we returned to the Yeoman Warders Bar for a few more drinks and a raffle was conducted with a number of members winning prizes varying from bottles of wine through to whiskey glasses and other impressive items.

We remained in the bar with our hosts and heard some impressive facts not mentioned in the tour about the Tower Of London. On both occassions it was an absolute pleasure to attend.

This is one of a number of events that members of the International Police Association take part in. For details on how to join visit the IPA website at http://www.ipa-uk.org

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