IPA Founder

On the 1 January 1950 a Police Sergeant from Lincolnshire in England realised his dream and the IPA was born. Arthur Troop was to create an organisation, which promoted friendship and co-operation amongst serving and retired Police Officers throughout the world, an organisation able to develop social, cultural and professional links free of any discrimination of, rank, sex, race, colour, language or religion.

Arthur Troop served as a Police Officer throughout the Second World War and following the end of hostilities recognised the need for friendship and trust amongst the people of the world. He had already established pen-friendships but these were lost during the war years, so he decided to re-kindle these pen-friendships but restrict his activity within the world of Police Officers. He was soon corresponding with fellow Officers throughout Europe, all of whom believed in spreading the simple message of friendship throughout the world.

Motivated by his own strong feelings and the support of his new pen friends Arthur Troop took a bold step and wrote an article for the established weekly police publication in the UK – Police Review. Discipline in the Police in these years was rigid and Arthur knew that if he identified himself at this stage he could face considerable difficulties from within the Service. Arthur wrote his letter under the pseudonym of ‘Aytee’ and Police Review published the article on August 12th, 1949.

Arthur set out his vision for the organisation in his article and proposed how it might be administered. He sought the views of the magazine’s readers and was delighted to receive a substantial vote of confidence for his proposal. Support from not only within the UK but also from his international correspondents who would become Associate Members of the British Section pending the formation of their own National Section. Encouraged by this he wrote a letter to Police Review seeking further support. On this occasion he felt confident to identify himself recognising that this was necessary to further his ambition.

With assistance from several like-minded friends and colleagues an inaugural meeting of the Association was convened at Bishops gate Police Station in London in September 1949.

Despite some rigorous resistance from the Police Federation who perceived the IPA as a threat to their own organisation, the meeting elected the first Officers of the Association and decided that the IPA would be created on January 1st, 1950.

Much hard worked ensued to formalise the Association with a charter, a motto and an insignia. The motto ‘Service Through Friendship’ was soon agreed and after trying it in different languages the Esperanto version was thought to be most appropriate. Designs for an insignia were sought without success, so Arthur did a little sketching, starting with the star shape of his helmet badge, added a globe, some laurel leaves and a scroll and so devised the insignia of the Association.

1st IPA Membership Card issued to Founder and ISG Arthur Troop
1st IPA Membership Card issued to Founder and ISG Arthur Troop

There had been opposition to the formation of the Association ever since it was first proposed so it was no surprise to Arthur to be called before his Chief Constable to face some tough questioning about the Association and calling into doubt his ability to administer the Association – after all he was merely a Constable, albeit a Temporary Sergeant at the time.

The Chief Constable even offered to take the Association ‘papers’ from Arthur and have an Officer of the rank of Inspector investigate the feasibility of the idea. He also questioned the legality of the Association. Arthur stood firm to his beliefs and to his colleagues that had supported him, although he seriously wondered how this interview might affect his career.

He left the interview feeling somewhat deflated and pondering who might have directed the Chief Constable to find out just what he was up to. Arthur kept his nerve though and true to his beliefs resolved to move the Association forward.

Ironically some years later this same Chief Constable congratulated Arthur on his work for the Association admiring Arthur’s courage to carry on with the IPA despite his (the Chief Constable’s) doubts at that time.

In the 1950’s the IPA grew steadily throughout Europe. Arthur and his colleagues often found themselves travelling to European destinations to promote the IPA and attend meetings. Not for them the convenient air travel that we take for granted today, but many long and tiring journeys. In 1953 the Netherlands became the first country after the United Kingdom to form a Section. Belgium and France followed during that year. Norway, Germany and Switzerland organised during the next two years and the first International Congress was held in Paris in 1955. Development through Europe and beyond was not always without difficulties but Arthur and his colleagues persevered and the organisation moved on and continued to grow in stature.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1965 Arthur Troop was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his services in founding, developing and supporting the International Police Association. In the same Honours List at this time were a certain popular music Group of the day – The Beatles.

In 1967 the IPA received further recognition when the organisation was granted Consultative Status with the United Nations.

The vision of Arthur Troop has evolved into a truly international organisation with in excess of 450,000 serving and retired Police Officers and Police Staff represented in 67 countries – more people than could ever have been imagined fifty years ago.