The Australian Section recently had the privilege of hosting the 2nd IPA World Seminar for Young Police Officers. 61 police officers from 29 nations representing 45 policing jurisdictions. The theme of the week was ‘One World of Policing – International similarities’.
There were participants from Australia, Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji (Foreign Associate member), Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Sweden, Turkey, the USA and Wales (UK Section).
The week consisted of a variety of information sessions, case study presentations and training exercises and demonstrations with subject matters including drug importation, illicit laboratory investigations and major incident response. Exercises included the Water Police, AGL Action Rescue Helicopter and volunteers from SES, Surf Life Saving and Coast Guard demonstrating the joint cooperation with Police in rescue operations. Wildlife rescue volunteers and snake catchers also gave the participants an opportunity to closely view some cuddly and not so cuddly Australian native wildlife that Australian Police often deal with.
The opening ceremony took place at Parliament House with the Police Minister delivering a personalized video message. The Lord Mayor also hosted a Civic Reception at the newly renovated Town Hall.
ANZAC Day was an especially moving day for the participants with them all attending the Brisbane Dawn Service. The full contingent marched together proudly under the IPA banner behind the Queensland Police Pipes and Drums and Mounted Branch.
In addition to the professional development aspect there were several social functions which showcased the Australian way of life including the Outback Spectacular, a unique and live dinner show featuring stock horses, livestock and much more about life in the outback. Participants discovered for themselves that it is not as easy as it looks to crack a stock whip!
The Seminar ended with a Gala Dinner which was attended by the Queensland Commissioner of Police and his wife along with a number of the sponsors. (Triple B, Community Supporting Police, Alere, Queensland Police Credit Union and Tactical Advantage Queensland). Third International Vice President Kees Sal took the opportunity to present Michelle Harris and Paul Kelly with a Certificate of Merit on behalf of the PEB for ‘exemplary service’ in organizing the event. The participants danced the night away with Murphy’s Pigs who just won the Artist of the Year at the Australian Celtic Award.
One of the youngest participants, 21 year old Claudia from Austria (left) states, ‘It was an amazing week - the best week in my life so far.’ There is no doubt that the personal and professional contacts they have established over the week will last a lifetime.
Paul Kelly, the event coordinator, is to be commended on his tremendous efforts over the last two years. Paul states, ‘After two years of planning I was extremely satisfied that all participants were able to take something away from the Seminar to help them in their career. The goal was to share knowledge and experience in line with our theme, not to say this is how we do it in Australia and the only way it can be done. We are fortunate enough to have a number of experts within Australia and New Zealand that understood the goal and facilitated the sessions to include all participants.
Each session resulted in all participants being involved and able to express their views. The support I received from the facilitators, Commissioner STEWART and the members who assisted with the administrative tasks all made it possible to showcase the Australian Section to future IPA and Police leaders. We have done a little bit to help future proof the organisation and further legitimise the benefits of professional development workshops for our younger members. Personally I must thank my wife for putting up with me during the last few months as I was up all hours communicating with the participants and even a week after most have left I am still dealing with concluding the administrative side of the Seminar. Last but not least our National President Michelle was released from normal duties to work alongside myself at the QPS for the final month and this assisted greatly in finalising the arrangements. The 2nd IPA World Seminar was a massive success and the feedback received very encouraging. ‘
Aimee Dodds (left) from New Zealand states, ‘I just want to say a big thanks to Michelle Harris and Paul Kelly for making the IPA seminar a great experience for all involved.’
All participants expressed gratitude for the opportunity that they had been given and believed that they had benefited professionally and personally from the entire experience. Although Thomas Szablowski from Poland stated, ‘the only one issue that was bad in Brisbane – it was too short a time!’.
Melissa Rae was the 61st participant which was a non-funded position. She stated, ‘The friendships made at the 2nd IPA seminar live on. I was fortunate enough to be on standby as a member for the group this week and was very privileged to be able to attend as a participant. Prior to attending, I knew little about the IPA and now realize what I have been missing out on. I'd like to thank in particular Paul Kelly and Michelle Harris and everyone else who assisted in organizing the lectures and events. Although I live in Brisbane and work for the QPS, I found the lectures very informative and thoroughly enjoyed the events, most of which I hadn't yet experienced since living in Brisbane’
To view more pictures from the Seminar visit the International Police Association (Australia Section) Inc. Facebook page or www.ipa-australiapolice.com.au for a more in depth article. It is the strong hope of the Australian Section that this program will become a fixed biennial event for the International Police Association.
Michelle Harris, President IPA Australia