One of the many benefits of IPA membership is the opportunity to develop yourself in ways that are not open to non members. This is where membership of the worlds largest police friendship association is worth its weight in gold. I am of course talking about the IPA International Learning & Development Exchange Program (ILDEP).
The theory of ILDEP has been around for some time however more recently the IPA has made this into a professional program which is co ordinated by Iain Sirrell.
Towards the end of 2014 I received an ILDEP application from a man called Henk who is serving with the Rotterdam Police in the Netherlands. Henk was due to visit London (January 2015) after he proposed an idea in his home force to take DNA from persons convicted at Court before they left the building. In Rotterdam DNA is taken post conviction rather than on arrest like here in the UK.
This was the first formal ILDEP application the London North Branch had received and it was an honour to be of assistance. I spoke with Henk and his Commanding Officer about the visit and what they would like to get out of it. The answer was simple, to gain an understanding of the UK DNA program and linked legislation. So off to work I went.
I contacted the DNA Manager in the Metropolitan Police and explained what the IPA was, about the ILDEP program and about Henk’s application. Having heard what I had to say she was more than happy to assist.
Prior to Henk’s arrival I emailed a summary of how DNA is obtained in the UK. I explained how the custody process works, how the samples are submitted to the lab, the DNA database and links to PNC and how samples are linked to crime scenes. This was to give Henk a head start in preparation for what he would experience when he arrived.
Henk visited the Metropolitan Police lab in Lambeth. Here he saw scientists at work. He learned about the work they do and how they do it. In order to provide Henk with a complete picture of how our DNA program works he also spent time at the Lewisham Custody Centre at Lewisham Police Station. Here he observed arrested persons being booked in and learned about DNA being taken as part of the booking in process.
It was not all work for Henk. He and his wife visited a number of attractions in the City. At the end of the week I arranged for IPA members to meet Henk for a few drinks at a pub in the Baker Street area of London. It fitted nicely with other IPA members who were in London. We were joined by Spike from the Cheshire Branch and two officers from Germany.
The evening was most enjoyable. Gifts were exchanged and I had the pleasure of presenting Henk with a ILDEP certificate as a symbol of his learning through the International Police Association with thanks to the Metropolitan Police.
It was nice to hear that Henk had thoroughly enjoyed his learning with the Metropolitan Police and that he was going to be using some of the things he learned to prepare a report for his home force. This was a very successful ILDEP visit and I am pleased to say that I have received another application for later this year.
The ILDEP is open to to IPA members. For details of how the ILDEP works and / or to submit an application please visit the Professional Development section of the IPA website at http://www.ipa-uk.org
Post Written By M.Evans – London North Branch Secretary