IPA UK’s Mike Sullivan benefits from ‘Europe on Patrol’

19 Nov 2019


I had a busy four days hosted by Detmold IPA in Germany, and it was a truly fantastic experience.This was my first IPA event and it was not a let-down.

Thursday started at the Detmold IPA house with a BBQ with colleagues from all across Europe - Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and of course Germany.

EOP 27Friday was busy, starting with a visit to the town hall to meet the Mayor with everyone wearing their own respective uniforms. This was followed by a walk to the local police station, raising a few curious looks from the public! At the station, we were greeted with a presentation about the area and then a visit to their control room. It's a very similar setup to my own, they even use the same Tetra radio system as the UK.

We spent the afternoon observing a stop check site where police stopped various vehicles and checked drivers’ documents, their fitness to drive and their vehicle conditions. I had the opportunity to check out the various vehicles used by the Polizei, their area cars come equipped with a MP5 compartment in the passenger door -  something you wouldn't see in the UK! That evening we were taken on a tour of the local Detmold State Brewery, followed by local food and beer. A big treat for me, it was certainly enjoyed by all.

On the last day we gathered back at the town hall to discuss the previous day's stop checks and to exchange ideas and discuss learning points. The German procedure isn't that different to our own. We use the same alcometers and the same saliva drugs wipes to test for the presence of alcohol and/or drugs, but the German kit tests more than just cannabis and cocaine. They also have a roadside urine test.

In the afternoon we had a trip to the Hermannsdenkmal, a 53m statue of Arminius who united the Germanic tribes to fight off the Romans. We finished the day at the local Brauhaus, and the event was over almost as quickly as it had begun.

One of the big highlights for me was to meet a German document expert. His level of knowledge is second to none, and he brought with him around a hundred fake documents, some bad and some so perfect that only an expert could make a verdict. One passport, purporting to be from Syria, had a single mistake with one character in its 32 pages proving it was counterfeit.

The arrangements made by the Detmold IPA were truly fantastic and really helped to foster future working relationships with colleagues across Europe, something that will be so incredibly important when we leave the EU.

Michael O’Sullivan, IPA United Kingdom