Thank you Lincolnshire for an amazing stay!
When I first saw the invitation to go to Lincolnshire, England on an IPA trip I didn´t know what to expect. I’ve previously been on an exchange to Fort Lauderdale, USA, a few years back and had a great time and met many friends/colleagues. This time it would be an opportunity to see the English countryside, and what better way to do it than from the window of a police car. It’s always interesting to see what problems other countries deal with. Regardless of nationality the “Thin Blue Line” seems to be a universal family bond.
At first IPA Sweden only planned to send one delegate to Lincolnshire but to our surprise and fortune they decided to send three instead. The lucky ones were Thomas, Daniel and I, Gustav.
Thomas, Daniel and I arrived on a Monday evening and after a traditional supper at an authentic English pub with Fish & Chips we headed on our way to meet up with our hosts on the Horse & Jockey, a local English Pub in Waddington, just outside Lincoln. The interior of the pub and people who were there made you feel like you were part of an episode of Emmerdale (I think most of you know what I mean). There we met up with our hosts, Gemma and Paul, Betsy and Keith and Kieran. After a pint or two it was time to get some rest before an early start the next day.
We started out Tuesday morning with a visit to HQ and all the different departments. First we started with an online meeting with the local area department similar to how we usually start our shifts. We visited the firearms squad who showed us around their training facilities, their weaponry, their cars and all their gadgets. We discussed the pros and cons of not being armed and how far the UK are on the ANPR (Automatic number plate recognition), compared to Sweden. In the afternoon we met up with Chris Davison from policing partnership and he talked about how the police worked together with all the other departments outside the police, social services, the county etc. This was very interesting and I think that Sweden would have a lot to gain if the used the same methods. They seem to work, not only with the crime itself but also the bigger picture. In order for a person to stop selling and using drugs they need to not only punish them but also helping them and their whole life situation. They as anyone need a place to stay, a job and a new social network. This is often forgotten when you just focus on the crime itself.
We also had time to meet Nikki Mayo who told us about what she referred to as modern day slavery. How criminals keep drug and alcohol addicts under control by taking their passport and supplying them with alcohol and drugs. They kept them under inhumane living conditions and had them working horrific shifts and they weren’t allowed to have any contact with the outside. Nikki told us that the biggest struggle was earning the victims trust and how they finally got them to take a stand against their oppressors.
We visited the domestic abuse department, the force control room and they showed us what a fantastic work they did with the resources they have. They, as the Swedish police seem to deal with the challenge of being short of people and having a large area to cover. We visited the custody and the cells which looks very similar to ours but with some differences in working routines.
Tuesday night we went on a ghost walk around the town and I’m quite happy I only caught cold hands and feet and not lost my finger, as the urban legend says that the one who runs 8 times around a house outside the church and puts her/his finger in one of the holes in the doors will come out one finger short.
Wednesday we started out at the HQ for a trip to Skegness, also referred to “SkegVegas” with all its blackjack machines, sandy beaches and caravan parks is a popular resort for retired people. In Skegness we got go on a mobile/foot patrol around the precinct. We had the warmest welcome by the locals and got to meet the mayor and “Jolly” the town mascot and the town crier. It made us almost feel like celebrities.
Wednesday afternoon we met up at Batemans Brewery for dinner and a guided tour around the brewery. Great food and a nice little tour with some free tastings, very nice.
Thursday we all went to the IPA HQ in Nottingham and met the vice president (today president) Clive Wood and he showed us around the headquarters and had an interesting meeting.
In the afternoon Paul, one of the hosts arranged so we could go in a wind tunnel. It was the most fun we have had in many, many, many years. In the evening we came back and had a nice dinner with all our hosts and all the ones who had been involved in our stay and had a wonderful time.
Sadly enough, everything has to come to an end and on Friday we went home to our everyday life in Sweden. The trip with IPA has given us so much, new friends that I am sure we will keep in contact with for a long time. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone involved in our trip and stay and especially thanks to IPA Lincolnshire and IPA Malmö for sending us.
I also would like to thank the Swedish police for letting us wear our uniforms when going on patrols and other ceremonial purposes. It was very appreciated by the public and English colleagues and it made you feel proud of being a Swedish police officer and for what it represents.
Thomas, Daniel and Gustav