I was one of the two English Police Officers who attended the IPMBA Instructor course at Ogden this year. It was the first time that either Neil Barnes or myself had been to an IPMBA conference. I have to say that the welcome that we were given by everybody was outstanding!
Our trip was a very memorable one. The Instructor Course we both found hard and a good test of knowledge of mountain biking in relation to police duties. We operate very differently to the majority of American bike units (at least that's the impression I got, I apologise if there are some units out there doing the same role). Our unit is there for three reasons: 1.) High Visibility Patrolling (to reduce the British public's fear of crime); 2. Catch Criminals; and 3.) Reduce Crime.
Simple goals, but not always simple to achieve. After doing the IPMBA Instructor Course, I know that, I, for one, feel more confident on the bike and able to instruct and spread the word of how useful the bike is in fighting crime. We are a totally pro-active unit and the bike is by far the most effective tool that I have discovered to achieve those goals.
But hey, who am I preaching to? You guys over there in the USA are streets ahead of us over here in the UK in relation to bike policing. I just felt that I had to say a massive "thank you" to everyone involved with the organisation of the conference and all the instructors on the course.
I will be trying to get myself out to West Virginia next year...if for no other reason than to see some good friends made on this year's trip!
PC Julian Deans CD225 Sussex Police UK