Celebrating Pride In San Francisco

Story by Garth Minton – BTP Branch Chair

In January of this year a happy coincidence came about in that my friend Imraan Sathar, a fellow IPA member belonging to BTP branch, mentioned that he and a few other mutual friends had a trip to San Francisco planned in June. I had already looked into heading over to SF myself for my summer jaunt and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to link up with his group.

I wanted to do something a little different whilst in the city, and so with a few months to go until we jetted off I used the IPA network to get in touch with Calvin Chow, the president of USA region, who fortuitously happens to live in the SF area. Calvin was supportive from the get-go, and when I expressed an interest in myself and Imraan joining in with the SFPD’s LGBT Pride parade celebrations he wasted no time in making all the requisite arrangements for us.


June rolled around and on a biblically rainy day we flew out of Heathrow bound for sunnier climes, custodian lids and tunics safely stowed in our luggage! We spent a few days taking in the sights and soaking up the rays before starting Sunday with a breakfast at Mission police station, where Calvin had arranged for us to be met by Capt. Teresa Ewins who was to look after us for the remainder of the day. There we were also introduced to various other police officers who would also be marching in the parade, including relatively new recruit to the force Cameron Coulter. We all chewed the fat about the differences and similarities in police work on both sides of the Atlantic before we were briefed by the local Captain, and along with a contingent of FBI agents we boarded a street-car bound for the parade route.


We managed to brave the heat which was rather stifling in our tunics and helmets! The start of the parade was taken up with posing for photographs with lots of officers (including the chief of police!) as well as members of the public. Imraan even bumped into a former Chief Superintendent from Avon & Somerset police, proving that wherever you go there’s usually a Bobby not too far away! The parade itself was a fantastic occasion; it was great to see the city turn out in support of the LGBT community and also in support of its law enforcement personnel. Both our jaws hurt from smiling for photos by the parade’s conclusion.


Later that evening I finally had a chance to meet Calvin and thank him for all his efforts in accommodating us; we were invited to a private party laid on by friends of his which was a real family atmosphere with home-made Mexican food and guacamole (and a liberal helping of alcohol!) We were able to exchange a few gifts with Calvin and future plans were mentioned of reciprocal visits to London. Without the IPA, none of this would have been possible. I think what stands out most was the intimate and friendly nature with which Imraan and I were treated by all who knew Calvin, and by extension the rest of our group when we were all invited back the following night to Calvin’s former patrol partner’s place for another party! The sense of returning to the UK having made so many new friends was quite unique, and I’m reminded of the key driving force of friendship behind our organisation every time I think of the trip.

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Gimborn Safety On European Roads International Police Seminar

Story by Kiran Gharial – London North Social Secretary

In May 2016, I attended Gimborn for the “Safety on European Roads” International Police Association Seminar. There were over 20 participants from 6 different countries with the majority of attendees coming from Germany and England. Two participants came from Ireland, two from Norway, one from Australia and one from Austria. The seminar was chaired by I.P.A Section U.K vice-president Sean Hannigan.

The first day, Monday, began with an introduction to Gimborn Castle and its historical background, by 2 senior managers of the IBZ team. This was followed by an introduction from each participant of their professional background to the rest of the group – a good way to “break-the-ice”!

Following lunch our first speaker talked about the topic of ‘Detecting & Prosecuting Impaired Drivers’.This subject involved around Drink and Drug driving. The European drink-drive limits were compared and discussed with those of Scotland – surprisingly for some showing a downward trend since 2010 onwards. She then went onto her experience of the D.E.C.P i.e drug evaluation and classification program and drug recognition / evaluation as carried out by police in U.K. Drug recognition tests were next and this involved the basics of the ‘Field Impairment Test’ which is normally carried out by traffic officers.  A variety of illegal drugs and their effects on the body were explained and the topic was ended with a group discussion regarding drug abuse, legislation and detecting drivers under the influence within the confides of the international participants.

The second speaker talked about “The next generation of Safer Drivers beginning with the fatal four :- Drink & Drugs, Smartphones, Speeding and Seat belts as to the common causes of road traffic collisions. He went on to talk about the partnership meeting following a fatal collision to discuss a way forward in collaboration with the partnership group to reduce the number of collisions in his constabulary. Initially, this campaign targeted driving instructors. It then continued onto target employers, schools and parents to drive the message forward regarding the driving attitudes and behaviours of young drivers. Advertising, by means of using certain animal characters to associate with certain driving offences was used as part of the targeting campaign. A simple initiative called “My Red Thumb” was also discussed regarding using a mobile phone whilst driving. Basically, this idea came about from a driver who painted his thumb-nails red to remind him of the dangers of texting whilst driving each time he got into his vehicle and drove. He finished off by talking about the “Learn to Live” campaign which targeted young, male drivers. In this real-life professionals, emergency crew and members of the public (family/friends) talked about the difficult part they had played during life-changing / threatening road-traffic collisions.

On Tuesday, the topic discussed was “Motorbike Safety Strategies” from a U.K perspective which was supported by ‘BikeSafe’ and N.P.C.C. It began with a European overview of motorbike and moped fatalities, outlining the main causes of collisions. The strategy placed in the U.K of Evaluation; Enforcement, Engineering, Education and Engagement was mentioned as well as operation “Achilles” whose purpose was to target routes with a high proportion of motorcycle fatalities. The operation was data led and included overt as well as covert enforcement of motorcyclist offenders which resulted in riders being referred to a RIDE scheme or prosecuted. In the afternoon,  the speaker was from Germany and he talked about the subject of “Autonomous Vehicles Disposition” regarding how on-board computers collect data following road traffic collisions.

On Wednesday, the topic discussed was about “Forensic Collision Investigation” which introduced the role of a collision investigator who is, basically, an independent expert witness that gathers evidence at scenes of collisions and provides a full report (prosecution file) to the investigation team. In the afternoon there was a trip to the Ministry of the Interior in Dusseldorf. Here a presentation on TISPOL – Traffic Information System Police – was given by a senior German Officer. TISPOL works in partnership to make Europe’s roads safer and secure. The key focus is to achieve reductions of road deaths and serious injuries through the enforcement of road traffic offences and the education of all road users. Furthermore, it supports the security of the road network by tackling criminality and cross-border crime. This presentation was followed by a local trip downtown where dinner and drinks were available to wind down and take in the local sights of this wonderful city.

On Thursday we were presented with “Using modern technologies in pursuit of road safety”. The subject of ANPR was discussed with 4 key areas of proactive, reactive, intelligence and MISPERS was relayed to the group. The 3 main types of system (i) van-based, (ii) fixed and (iii) mobile were mentioned as well as the Back Office Facility (BOF). It was an interesting point that both Germany & Austria had strict legislative laws that made it difficult for them to employ such a system in their countries. The participants from these two countries were most impressed with this presentation. In the future, ANPR should be able to recognise E.U plates (schengen); assist with European Arrest Warrants, increase the number of fixed sites, use 3G/4G network and be in alliance with other county forces within the United Kingdom.

Following on was the “future of policing using drones”. This topic was probably the high point of the seminar with all participants showing a keen interest in the subject which ended with a practical session involving the use of a drone in action nearby the local vicinity. In the afternoon we heard about the topic of “Disaster Victim Identification” and body recovery in fatal accidents, which involved identifying victims of any major or emergency incident. An example given was that of the Tsunami in 2006 where specialist teams from around the word were called up to assist in identifying thousands of victims from this catastrophic disaster.

On the final day, Friday, we had a round-up of the topics covered during the week. Certificates were presented to all the participants. There was a closing speech by the IBZ team and we, sadly, said our farewells to our friends and colleagues as we prepared for our journey home. And not to forget that this trip would not have been completed without a visit to the ‘Turm-Bar’ for a relaxed and social  atmosphere during the weekday evenings, after dinner, where everyone was invited to enjoy a pint – or two – of “Krombacher!” at a very reasonable price.

I would like to thank the staff members at Gimborn for their understanding and generous hospitality throughout my stay as well congratulating the Chair, Vice-Chair, Presenters and Interpreters for their planning, organisation and commitment in making this a successful event.

Have a specialist area of policing that you would like to teach others about or want to know more about the range of seminars that take place throughout the year at Gimborn? Please contact your local IPA branch or IPA HQ.

Posted in Gimborn, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IPA Cybercrime Event

Post by Martyn Linton – London North Branch

Until this week I had never explored the learning and development opportunities within the IPA. I have read several stories about people attending the likes of Gimborn and have said several times that I must get involved. Well this week I did and I do not know why I haven’t done it sooner.

I’m sure that there will be a web news story to follow so I won’t steal that thunder but felt that I should put a few lines together to inform you of the learning opportunities and their value open to you as a member of the IPA.

I work on a Major Crime Team in London and an increasing number of investigations involve electronic devices and/or use of the Internet. A typical example being online fraud. It is no secret that online fraud etc is on the increase and will no doubt continue. 

The seminar I attended was held in Coventry in a very modern environment. I arrived and met the Instructors who were very knowledgeable and clearly specialists in their field. What was very helpful was the fact the Senior Lecturer was a former Police Officer so he understood the complex nature of policing. I then met colleagues from forces across the country who worked in varying roles from Major/Organised Crime to Digital Media.

I will not go into specifics about what the day covered but will say that I left the seminar armed with some new knowledge and some tools that will be very useful in investigating  crime.

I left the event with a newly found interest in this field and I am wanting to learn more. This event was the first UK Cybercrime event and at the end feedback was sought from those attending on what content they would like to see for future events so that those attending can get the most out of it.

The International Police Association have a number of learning and development opportunities available to members. Events are hosted locally, nationally and internationally. There is the Gimborn training centre which hosts seminars in various topics around the year. I highly recommend that you explore the opportunities open to you.

If you would like any information about opportunities available to you please contact your local branch. If you are not an IPA member and you would like to know more about the benefits of membership please visit http://www.ipa-uk.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IPA Baltimore Visit London

The London North Branch welcomed visitors from IPA Baltimore in October 2015. Branch Secretary Martyn Linton writes about what happened.

I was informed that four members from IPA Baltimore – US Section were to visit London and that they wished to meet with local members. I made contact with Mike in the US and after introducing myself we started to discuss what activities we could do. Being London we had no shortage of options.

After the feedback we received about our day out with the visitors from Switzerland we decided that a casual day visiting some attractions would be the order of the day.

The day arrived for us to meet. I met our guests at their hotel and after the introductions we set off into the City. We were lead by Matin Addis, a London North member. Martin’s extensive knowledge on the history of London has been complimented by many visitors.

Guests With Officers From The Metropolitan Police Armed Response Unit

We visited a number of places and found ourselves at The Palace. Martin gave a short talk on the history of the Palace, the military and the buildings surrounding the Palace. After this we decided to head towards a pub for some lunch. We walked along The Mall where our guests caught eye of two Armed Met Police vehicles.

This lead to questions that I am nearly always asked by overseas visitors about the British style of policing and not being routinely armed. Our guests had a chat with the armed officers about the tools of their trade and there was a short exchange of banter about the different approach to firearms tactics used by the UK and US.


Mike With Officer From Ministry Of Defence Police At Horseguard’s Parade Ground

After lunch we visited Downing Street, The Horseguard’s Parade Ground, Parliament and a few other historic buildings. Martin gave a short talk on each venue as we visited and Martin answered several questions that our guests put to him.

In what seemed like no time at all the day started to draw to a close. After a couple more venues the time came for us to say goodbye to our guests as they needed rest. We returned to their hotel where we continued talking for a while before shaking hands and going our separate ways.


Gift Presented To IPA London North Branch

Our guests had retired from the Baltimore Police Department and they were completing a group tour of a number of countries together. What I really liked about this group was the fact that they had worked together as serving officers on a close knit team and having retired they have kept that close bond. It was an absolute pleasure to have met these members and having been invited to visit Baltimore I will hopefully meet them again.

Not a member of the International Police Association? Membership is open to all serving and retired officers, specials and staff. Visit http://www.ipa-uk.org for information about the IPA and membership.







Posted in Visitors | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Claasic Le Mans 2016 Raffle

Thank you for visiting this page.

The International Police Association draw your attention to this charity event organised by the International Police Association.

The International Police Association have a terrific holiday, valued at £800+, up for grabs for two people to attend Classic Le Mans between 7th – 11th of July 2016.

This competition is being run to raise money for the Care of Police Survivors Charity and the MPS/Herts/Beds and BTP Police Widows & Orphan funds.

Tickets for this amazing prize cost only £5 each, and given that this is a charity fundraiser you are all encouraged to get friends, family well anyone to buy tickets, so please advertise this far and wide!

In order to take part please email the organiser at lemans@ipa-uk.org and you’ll get full details of how to pay and the winning name will be drawn on the 15th of December, so just in time to make this a great Christmas present!

The package includes:

General entrance & paddock access tickets

On circuit camping at the Travel Destinations private campsite at Porsche Curves

P&O Ferries crossing from Dover to Calais for a standard size car

Le Mans Classic is now one of the worlds’ most iconic classic car events along with Goodwood Revival and Pebble Beach Concours. The atmosphere and heritage surrounding this event will engulf you. The display paddock has the largest collection and some of the rarest cars in the world. And with some of the most valuable vintage and classic cars in the world on the track, it certainly takes you back to an era when motor-racing was at its most exciting.

Thanks and good luck


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IPA Switzerland Visitors To London – September 2015

Story By Martyn Linton – IPA London North Branch

A few weeks ago I received via the London Reception Officer details of a group of officers from Switzerland who were visiting London. The trip was being arranged by a man called Carlos and the visit was for three days. Their trip was based around a England vs Switzerland football game to being played at Wembley.

Our guests arrived early on the Monday morning and later that morning I along with John Toombs (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire Branch) and Rob Weaver (Gloucestershire Branch) met our guests at the hotel. After introductions we headed for the tube station to start our day of activities.

Our first stop was Kensington Palace and the Royal Albert Hall. Here John explained a little about the history of the buildings and the gardens.


We then went to a traditional pub in Kensington for some lunch and a couple of pints and after that we went to what would be the most popular venue of the day which was the Metropolitan Police Heritage Centre. The Heritage Centre is home to various exhibits of Met Police history. I am a serving Met officer and I have walked past the centre several times but have never been inside. Had I known what was inside I would have visited sooner.

Heritage Centre

Inside our guests tried on old uniforms and looked at exhibits and the friendly staff were happy to answer questions about exhibits. There were a range of exhibits that included helmets, swords, warrant cards, radios and more.

IMG_0998           IMG_0980

Prior to leaving the Heritage Centre a number of people myself included purchased items from the gift shop. The gift shop sells things from tie pins and badges to mounted presentation shields. I said thank you to Simon who works at the Heritage Centre for allowing me to take our visitors along. After leaving the Heritage Centre I was pleased to hear how much our guests had enjoyed themselves. I will certainly be returning with future guests.


Our next stop was the Houses Of Parliament. We were joined here by two more members of 9 Region. One of those members also named Martin spoke about the history of the building. We took photographs from the bridge and then went for a walk around the outside.

Houses Of Paliament

IPA Members Outside The Houses Of Parliament

We stopped at a few more buildings nearby including Westminster Abbey before going to our last venue of the day which was Downing Street. We had planned to visit some other venues however time was against us as we had arranged an evening get together for other members to join us.

Downing Street

Downing Street

After a short visit to Downing Street we got back on a tube to Russell Square for a beer and for the guests to have a shower etc before the evening event. The evening event was a casual get together and a few drinks. We went to the Metropolitan Bar in Baker Street. I went ahead of the group and spoke with the manager on duty where I explained that we had a large group and asked if we could present one of them with a birthday cake as it was his birthday. She was very accomodating and reserved a section of the pub for us to use so we could stay together.

Birthday Cake

After dinner the traditional exchanging of gifts got underway. BTP Branch Secretary Gary Warren and I presented a traditional helmet and some other things including patches. Carlos presented a Swiss hamper that contained a range of sausage, biscuits and cheese. Other gifts included patches, a bottle of alcohol which came with a verbal warning “drink this very slowly” and Swiss army knives.

Gifts 2Gifts

At just past midnight the days events drew to a close and everyone made their way home. A good time was had by all and it was an absolute pleasure to have hosted IPA Switzerland members for the day.

I wanted to make a public thank you to Simon at the Met Police Heritage Centre. I have been speaking with him about taking IPA members to the centre. Simon has said that IPA members are more than welcome to visit in the future and I will certainly be taking him up on that offer. You can find out more about the Metropolitan Police Historical Collection and the Heritage Centre and join as a member for a very small annual fee by visiting https://www.metpolicehistory.co.uk/ 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

We Are The Cops

London North member Michael Matthews has released a book about policing on the streets of the US. This was recently posted on the IPA website. Michael was asked if he would write a short post for the blog. This is his story.

By Michael Matthews

Like many coppers, I have always had an interest at how our colleagues in America, police. ‘The Job’ is often considered the same everywhere, and to a degree that is true but there are also huge differences.

As a kid I grew up watching all those great American cop shows and movies – Hill Street Blues, Cagney and Lacey, Beverly Hills Cop and even Smokey and the Bandit. This diet of American cop action and stereotypes stayed with me long after I joined the Metropolitan Police in London and I vowed to one day delve into the American cop world.

Photo 1

For 12 years now, I have been doing just that – immersing myself in their world and their culture. I have been travelling regularly to America to meet with – and often patrol with – cops from less likely places such as Alaska and Mississippi to the more expected including as New York, Chicago and Las Vegas.

My experiences were everything you would imagine them to be. In the time that I have been patrolling with officers, I have been up in department helicopters, out on SWAT raids, accompanied homicide detectives in the ganglands of major cities, spent lonely nights in remote locations with a single trooper and ‘blue-lighted’ it through Times Square.

The result of these experiences is a book called ‘We Are The Cops – The Real Lives of America’s Police’. American policing has come under much scrutiny of late and the book, I believe, goes some way to helping people understand what is it really like to be an American cop today. Forget the TV shows, forget the movies, this is it, for real. And the realities are often more unexpected than what you would find on TV anyway.

Photo 2

I spoke to one Boston officer who told me about the time a gorilla called ‘Little Joe’ (he wasn’t very little from what I understand) escaped from the zoo and proceeded to cause havoc in the city. The officer told me:

‘So he was just kind of walking around, then he’s coming towards us and he’s banging his chest and everything. Then at one point he starts running after us. There had to be fifty cops there by now – you know, pistols, rifles and all this stuff – and we all just started running away! We don’t want to shoot him, so we’re running and we’re kinda laughing too, because it is kinda funny. But it’s a gorilla and he’s out. He’s out on the street!’

That sort of thing could only happen in America. But not all the stories and tales were quite so amusing. It is no secret that being a cop in America can be a dangerous job. Last year 127 officers died in the line of duty. 47 of those officers were shot. The chapter ‘Officer Down’ that appears in the book was a difficult one to write as I had to get officers to open up to me about being shot themselves or about colleagues that they had lost. One officer I was told about was still alive but in a vegetative state after being in a shoot-out where another officer’s round had ricocheted and struck him in the head:

‘He got hit in the head. I think it was just a fragment but it got him in the brain. They think it could have been friendly fire. He’s been permanently handicapped and on life support ever since. He’ll never come back to work. He’ll never get out of rehab, probably ever. He’ll probably never walk again.

He’s not responding to any treatment. He’s almost like a vegetable and he’s only thirty-seven years old. He’s got four little kids. He’s on a vent and he’s not coming back.’

By the time I got home, that officer had died.

A Detroit Narcs team enter a suspected crack house during a raid.

A Detroit Narcs team enter a suspected crack house during a raid.

Despite the dangers, America can be a fun place to visit and to work but there is no denying that policing in America can be anything but routine. Their mindset can be different from officers’ working in quieter and safer places:

‘Being a cop in Detroit, you have to accept that you can get into anything, not just gunfights. You have to accept that you’re going to have to get physical at work. You have to accept that. You may not come back alive. You have to accept that. When you accept that, it helps to clear your mind so that you can do your job.

Do I get frightened? No. Do I get scared? Yeah. But doing your job supersedes you being scared; you’ll be scared after it’s over. Your mind is, ‘I’ve got to get this guy and not get shot.’’

Prisoner in handcuffs, Washington DC, USA

Prisoner in handcuffs, Washington DC, USA

Guns and shootings are a big part of the job. It is always at the forefront of officers’ mind at any call they attend – I have seen that for myself. There are after all, 80 guns for every 100 people in the States (compared to 6 in the UK):

‘I’m going to do whatever it takes to do my job and protect others. Of course, you don’t want to shoot people and I don’t want to sound like a monster but shooting a person was not that emotional for me.’

Like I said, it can be a different mindset.

Alaskan State Trooper on patrol in the remote native community of Angoon

Alaskan State Trooper on patrol in the remote native community of Angoon

I have loved the time I have spent with cops in the States and I continue to travel there to learn, to make new friends and to visit old ones. It is everything you have seen in the movies and much, much more. As one cop told me:

‘Where else are they going to give you a gun, a badge, a fast car and tell you to go play with ten of your best friends every night?’

American Cop

American Cop

We Are The Cops – The Real Lives of America’s Police is published by Silvertail books. Priced in the UK at £9.99 in paperback and from £2.49 ebook, it is available from Amazon and other usual book store and outlets. It is also available internationally.

All photos copyright Michael Matthews.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment