Report by Jewel Pearce
On Tuesday, 28th April 2015, 27 members of the ATA travelled by coach from the Nurettin Ersin Cami, Girne, to the Police College at Yeniceköy where they were warmly welcomed by Deputy Superintendant, Bekir Abatay and his officers.
The group was pleased to start the morning with refreshments while sitting under shade as it was surprisingly hot there.
One lady officer, Huriye Aybar Karafstan,who spoke very good English, explained that she was wearing a white shirt as she was a civilian working with the police, having been an immigration officer – hence speaking such good English – so now she was a teacher at the College. (“Proper” police wear the blue shirts of course.) When asked about women in the police force, she thought that of the 125 students that the college can take, about 25 were female and that the current General Director is a woman.
The Police College has protocols with some universities whereby students can come to the Yeniceköy for various in-service training, and staff from the Police College can take specialist courses at the universities in return. However, most of the applicants are graduates, engineers, teachers etc who have not found employment.
There is now a great emphasis on all students being able to speak English and candidates are tested to make sure that they have reached the required level, but most being graduates, speak good English anyway.
An important initiative now is to allow foreigners who have to make a statement, to write it in their own language rather than having to sign one written in Turkish which, of course, they have no idea what it says and to what they are putting their name. The police, of course, have to trust what has been written is the truth.
The aim of the police, we were told, is for prevention rather than chasing criminals. They would like to develop Community Police but just don’t have the personnel to deal with the day-to-day crimes like speeding or use of mobile phones whilst driving.
In a lecture room, we were treated to a presentation, starting with the history of policing in Cyprus. From 1571 to 1878 there were the Ottoman Police, followed until 1960 by the Cypriot Military Police. For 3 years the British were in charge and in June 1964 the Turkish police force took over and in 1983 the TRNC Headquarters was established.
The original Police School was opened in Lefkoşa in 1969 but later moved to Yeniceköy and now there are plans to build a purpose-built new College at Gonyeli which will contain a police station, various departments and practice areas.
Very proudly, the Inspector giving the presentation said that since 1972, 57 groups had passed out of the College and 3421 students.
The College runs courses to give new experiences to officers, Traffic courses, ones on interrogation techniques as well as the training of Trainers.
Finally, as a member of the International Association of Police Academies (INTERPA) of which there are 46 countries, on the 3rd of May 2015, the Police College is holding for the first time, a week’s course for INTERPA members on Interrogation Techniques – in English.
Before we left the Police College we ate a tasty lunch in the college’s canteen, had a group photograph taken and we were finally reminded of the Police Emergency Line 155 and their website.