Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
As I look back over my policing career of 32 years I can say that I have been given many wonderful opportunities. In my policing role, I have travelled all over Australia and overseas. The highlight being a trip to Israel to attend a Counter-Terrorism Conference. I have worked in a variety of policing fields including general patrol duties, crime investigation, intelligence, counter-terrorism and training.
I have most enjoyed engaging with the community in which I serve to work collectively in solving the many social issues that we face. After 32 years and at the age of 56 I never thought that I would be given another great opportunity in being selected to attend the Rotary Peace Centre at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. I was very excited and a bit apprehensive when finally advised that my application had been approved. It was a long process starting with an Expression of Interest submitted to Victoria Police Executive Command through to a number of interviews conducted by Rotary Melbourne.
It is a great honour to be learning about peace and conflict amongst 23 fellows from a variety of backgrounds and representing 20 countries. I am sure we will all benefit from the knowledge and experience of our peers. It has been humbling to hear some of the stories from other fellows, who have and continue to work towards peace around the world, often in quite harsh environments.
During my travels, I often stop and say hello to the police officers that I come into contact with, and although at times there are language difficulties, a request for a group photograph has never been denied. As depicted below, during a visit to the ‘floating markets’ I engaged with the local police at their Police Box and of course had a photograph taken with two obliging officers. There is a certain bond between police around the world.
Last Thursday we travelled to the Ministry of Immigration to finalise our visas for the field trip to Cambodia. There was a large copy of a photograph on one of the walls. I am not sure if anyone else noticed it. It depicted the King at an official ceremony and was inspired when I read the following caption below the photograph:
“Speech of His Majesty the King on the first occasion of presenting the Royal Standard to the Royal Thai Police at Dusit Palace 13th October 1952:
You must never forget that you are police officers. Each of you must behave in ways that are appropriate to being a police officer. You must be good police officers whatever your rank, whether a sergeant or police general. You all have the same honor the honor of being those that protect peace and order in our nation in accordance with the oath of allegiance that you have given, not considering your own benefit but considering the benefit to our nation. Therefore, I call on all of you to determine in your mind to fully carry out your duty according to your position, the same as our forebears did in times past, so that our country and nation will endure.”
The speech from the King is as relevant today as it was in 1952. The words “you all have the same honor the honor of being those that protect peace and order in our nation…” are very relevant to me as peace and order in society is what all police officers around the world must work towards upholding always. As the Victoria Police motto states, “Uphold the Right”. As indicated by the King in 1952 the protecting of peace and order is to be done, “not considering your own benefit but considering the benefit of the nation”. A community’s attitude towards its police varies from country to country and is largely based on the culture and ethical health of the particular service. We are part of the community in which we serve and our integrity and professional standards are paramount. My policing service works with the community to ensure peace and order, and as peace fellows we must all do likewise. That is, working within our communities to make the world a better place.
Thank you Rotary International and Rotarians all around the world for this wonderful opportunity. I must also acknowledge Victoria Police for their on-going support of the program. Most importantly I thank my family for their unconditional love, and support of the work that I do.
Peter Greaney – Australia
Rotary Peace Fellow – Class 23