IPA Newsletter July-August - Word of Introduction

03 Jul 2020

Dear friends,

Since I was elected to the IEB back in October 2019, I have often been asked what it is like. It’s not exactly what I expected; it’s that and much more. The sudden realisation that you are representing the biggest police organisation in the world was both an adrenalin rush and a fear-evoking experience. Experiences are best shared, and I’m so fortunate to be joined by such a great IEB team who are both outstanding individuals and devoted IPA ambassadors. Every day is a challenge, and every challenge is an opportunity to promote and enhance the IPA. 

Last week for example, we received an email from the Wall Street Journal asking us: ‘why does the police in the U.S. kill so many more people in the line of duty than police in other developed nations?’ Our President responded eloquently as always, highlighting that we are a friendship association, and that in the case of the recent behaviour of several police officers in the USA, we place our trust in the legal system of the USA to properly investigate and render justice. The question, however, brought me back to my roots as an international trainer in police self-defence and to ponder the many challenges facing modern policing in all our jurisdictions.

The killing of George Floyd was indisputably wrong, but the question that we as police should be asking is: why did it go wrong? This story has claimed international media limelight and has led to protests and riots around the world. As I write this article, London is under siege from activists who are ripping up statues and rioting with police.

Policing has changed, and with the growth of social media, globalisation and such extremist activism, there is sometimes more of an emphasis on scrutinising cop culture than catching bad people. In a book entitled ‘The End of Policing’ Professor Alex Vitale writes about “how the police endanger us and why we need to find an alternative.’ The book attempts to spark public discussion by revealing the tainted origins of modern policing as a tool of social control. I obviously don’t agree with Professor Vitale’s perspective, but I do know that policing as we know it is being scrutinised by many facets of society. We have been pressurised to become all things to all people; an arduous task that is virtually impossible to achieve.

Each of us took an oath when we joined our respective police services; a solemn and moral undertaking to tackle crime and wrongdoing in our communities. That righteous inbuilt code has motivated and driven us to protect and serve, and sometimes our colleagues paid the ultimate sacrifice. As the world and its ideologies change, perhaps policing needs to change to meet modern societal demands.

Albert Einstein once said that ‘the world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.’

As the protectors of mankind for the past couple of centuries we, the police, have witnessed evil at its worst.

With over 372,000 members around the world the IPA collectively have millions of years of policing experience, and with our ERC connections and geographical reach, perhaps we are well poised to offer assistance in strategising on the future of policing. IBZ Gimborn recently announced their post Covid-19 re-opening, which is indeed very welcome news. This centre of excellence is a key foundation of the IPA, and a pillar for our future. Their new innovative webinars bring Gimborn to you, and give us all an opportunity to harness and share the IPA’s abundant knowledge.

We are all different, yet we are all the same. We pledge the same values and serve the same mission in life. Just as we serve our local community through policing, we serve each other through the IPA with the hands of friendship. Of course black lives matter, as do white lives; but blue lives matter too.

Mick Walsh, Treasurer Finances