Proud Occasion for IPA UK: A Royal Visit to remember

07 Mar 2022

hrh4I was delighted that Her Royal Highness (HRH) was able to find time in her busy schedule to attend the police station, which was dedicated to our founder by the former Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Mr Bill Skelly, this time last year.

Arthur served for part of his service in Skegness, and it is a delight to see a blue plaque on the wall outside the training and conference centre. It was also reassuring to see young student officers being trained to become the future of the police service.

Her Royal Highness was welcomed by Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Lincolnshire William Webb, who then introduced his wife, Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable Mr Chris Haward, the Police & Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire Mr Marc Jones, and finally myself as President of IPA Section UK.

As you can imagine, much planning had taken place prior to the visit, to ensure we had the opportunity to remind Her Royal Highness about the aims of our Association, and Vice President Sean Hannigan, together with Alan Carter, (former Vice President and CEO of Section UK and international Secretary-General from 1994 until 2003) were able to spend several minutes showing Her Royal Highness items from our archive. These included the press reports of her attending the World Congress dinner at Bournemouth in the millennium year (2000). Alan Carter had previously met Her Royal Highness at that event, together with our founder Arthur Troop.I had the absolute honour of inviting our Patron to see the blue plaque outside, before moving inside, where I introduced our National Executive Committee, Steve Bretherton, Secretary General, Sean Hannigan, Vice President Communications and Culture, Martin Turner, Vice President Professional, and Bill Lloyd, our National Treasurer. Sadly, our Vice President for social matters Yvonne McGregor, was unable to join us.


hrh3After covering our association’s history, I handed over to Chief Constable Chris Haward, who was able to tell HRH what modern day training looks like for his student officers in Lincolnshire. HRH was presented to several officers who were undertaking their initial training before their first patrols in the new year.

I was then able to take HRH through to the conference area, where I introduced the Chair of the Lincolnshire Branch, Derek Canton, and his wife. Derek then introduced members of his board.

To conclude the visit, I invited Her Royal Highness to see a portrait which will be placed in the foyer of the building following her visit. HRH then unveiled a commemorative plaque of the visit, which will be mounted under the portrait.The final group introduced to HRH included Michael Walsh, our representative from the International Executive Board, Gurmit Kaur Region 5 Chair, Gary Craig, the founder and representative of the Thin Blue Line charity (the current IPA UK President’s charity seeking to raise awareness of issues around mental health for serving offices), plus Andrew Gregory (West Midlands) & his wife Joanne, who kindly performed the role of official photographers to this event. 

On behalf of the Thin Blue Line charity, Gary Craig presented HRH with a bottle of Thin Blue Line gin. Each bottle purchased gives a donation of at least £10 to the charity, and it is rather nice gin! On behalf of the Association, I presented HRH with an engraved IPA quaich, a copy of our founder’s book ‘Service through Friendship’, and a challenge coin commissioned to mark the event.

This concluded the visit, and I escorted HRH out of the building to her car, thanking her once again for all her support over many years. As the car left the gates, I felt a huge sense of personal relief, as I’m sure you can imagine. This was a great event for our association, and certainly something to celebrate after what has been, and continues to be, a very difficult time.Finally, I was absolutely delighted that HRH accepted my offer to recognise her ongoing support for the Association with Honorary Life Membership, as an associate IPA member.

Clive Wood, President IPA United Kingdom