Turkey, Balkan states lead global police training co-operative

13/03/2014

Now in its fourth year, INTERPA is a growing international organisation aimed at improving the quality of police training.

By Menekse Tokyay for Southeast European Times in Istanbul -- 13/03/14

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Police training academies from Turkey and several Balkan states helped establish the International Association of Police Academies (INTERPA) in 2011. [AFP]

Turkey and several Balkan states have played instrumental roles in creating a multi-national organisation to improve police training.

The International Association of Police Academies (INTERPA) was established in 2011 with the participation of 24 police academies from 22 countries. Turkey, Albanian, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Serbia were among the founding members. Today the organisation includes 46 police academies from 40 countries.

INTERPA's aim is to share experiences and knowledge while identifying common problems in police training, including ethics, defence tactics, professional use of weapons, public relations, leadership, and the fight against organised crime.

It also plays a global role in standardising the conduct of police officers to respect the rule of law and human rights at the international level.

"In this way, when tackling crimes, the countries may find opportunities to provide their citizens with best possible police services," the Turkish Police Academy said in a written statement to SETimes.

The organisation's third annual conference will be held May 4th to 8th in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a focus on developing police academy teaching staffs.

At its first meeting, held in Antalya in 2012, then-Minister of Interior Idris Naim Sahin called INTERPA a humanitarian organisation that aims to ensure the peace and security of all humanity.

"The only guarantee of the common peace and security of humanity as well as of global peace are the internal security organisations that are police and gendarmerie. The aim of INTERPA is only good will. It is the expression of the stance against those who want to undermine global peace and tranquillity. With the trainings that INTERPA has provided and will be providing, as well as the common sense and common policies it will establish, this will be a signature for global peace," Sahin said.

Sahin also said that with the rising varieties of new crimes, it is necessary to establish a network among police academies to identify suitable crime-reducing tactics and establish global co-operation.

Kazakhstan is among the founding members, and Mirlan Kyzylov, deputy head of the country's Karagandy Police Academy, told SETimes that being part of INTERPA has improved police training and provided models for other countries to follow.

In May 2012, a Turkish National Police Academy delegation headed by deputy rector Hasan Huseyin Cevik visited the Karaganda Academy. The two academies signed a memorandum of understanding to provide development of international co-operation.

The two countries plan to exchange teachers and students, hold forums to exchange experience and knowledge between the academies, share best practices and experience in teaching and research, exchange teaching materials and training results, and also will send delegations to international police forums.

Kyzylov said priorities for further co-operation within the INTERPA include the improvement of educational processes, theoretical training, and development of effective training and teaching methods.

The BiH Ministry of Security's Agency for Education and Professional Training, based in Mostar, is especially interested in education and professionalisation of police officers.

"In today’s globalised world, strengthening international co-operation is crucial for resolving all joint challenges. The pre-condition of good quality in the works of police structures is the continuous improvement of education and training of police officers for areas like the fight against crimes, human trafficking and immigrants smuggling, as well as cybercrime, informative technologies and their security, prevention of terrorism, trans-national crime, drug trafficking, border security," the agency send in a written statement to SETimes.

The agency added that it emphasises meaningful co-operation with local and international institutions.

"The agency participates in INTERPA activities in accordance with its financial possibilities. But in the near future it expects to develop multi-lateral relations with other member institutions through exercises, specialised training, seminars and scientific conferences [focused on] current security challenges in BiH, and the world," the Agency’s statement added.

Macedonia is part of INTERPA through the Faculty of Security in Skopje, which works under the auspices of the University St. Kliment Ohridski-Bitola.

Vladimir Pivovarov, a professor at FON University in Skopje, said this type of co-operation is significant because it offers important exchanges of information and know-how in order to improve training programs.

"With this co-operation we increase the efficiency and the standards in police work. The criminal knows no borders, so police co-operation should know no borders as well in order to be successful in combating this crime that is becoming more and more cross-border," Pivovarov told SETimes.

He added that it is important to incorporate well-trained cadets into the police system.

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"Every year we get around 200 graduated criminal investigators in Macedonia and they all expect employment in the Ministry of Interior, and we don't have that capacity. Also it is worrying that other untrained cadres are admitted at the police job posts, so these young people are getting frustrated," he said.

Experts suggest efficient police academies that take a scientific approach to training will be effective in fighting crime. Their data and analysis can be useful to plan general police work and offer strategic information.

Correspondents Ivana Jovanovic in Sarajevo and Biljana Lajmanovska in Skopje contributed to this report.

In what ways should police training be improved? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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