When I told people, and my family that I had been asked to go out to Turkey to deliver training on Impairment Testing and Drug Influence Recognition, there was a sharp intake of breath. ‘You don’t want to go out there, it’s dangerous.’
My response was that I didn’t think that it was that bad. My colleague who had been out there the previous year told me that they never at any time felt unsafe and found the Turkish people gracious hosts, friendly and – in Ankara – fully ‘Westernised,’ inclusive of Starbucks, Macdonalds and Marks & Spencer! So other than the media’s spin on news filling our heads with information that, as it turned out, was completely at odds with what was going on out there – it was actually fine.
The project itself came under the umbrella of the EU CSI project, which was developed to increase the crime scene investigation techniques of the Turkish Gendarmerie. The ‘Jendarma’ are those officers who predominantly cover the rural areas of Turkey who now come under the civil Ministry of the Interior
Road Death Investigation was seen as an important rolefor the CSI’s which is how I became involved after the question was asked – what about drivers who are driving while drugged. Their law allows drivers to be taken to the hospital for a blood test if the officer thinks they may be under the influence, but they needed more in those cases of road death.
Consequently, I was approached to deliver training in Impairment Testing and Drug Influence Recognition. We trained two courses to thirty-five officers, (Jendarma and Traffic). We delivered the training we have given to UK and Hong Kong Police, but with local changes, for when all is said and done, the signs and symptoms of drug use are the same all over the world.
Those officers can now take forward the initiative to look further at their legislation, processes and practices of dealing with drivers under the influence of drugs, not just for road death but for any traffic violation.
Personally, for me, it was a great experience and another ‘feather in the cap,’ for my company, Blueknight. At the end, the instructors were also presented with a certificate of service and an engraved glass plaque, which was totally unexpected.Hopefully, it will not be the last.
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