Making friends over tea cakes!

Inspector Cheryle Cowan during her Pakistan tour
Inspector Cheryle Cowan during her Pakistan tour

A Falkirk-based senior police officer has just returned from a month-long tour of duty in Pakistan lending her support to local officers.

Inspector Cheryle Cowan joined two colleagues for the deployment by Police Scotland’s International Development Unit to help the Punjab Police develop training courses to tackle gender-based violence.

Cheryle, who was brought up in the town and attended Falkirk High School, originally joined Cumbria Constabulary in 1988 and transferred to the legacy Central Scotland Police in 1992.

Since then she has served in many different roles, including operational postings, custody and as an instructor at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan.

In previous positions she has investigated child protection enquiries at Larbert and led gender-based violence and human trafficking operations promoting the No Bystander campaign, in partnership with colleagues from the local authority, Forth Valley NHS and Signpost Recovery.

She has always had an interest in travel and applied as soon as the opportunity to deploy abroad arose.

She told The Falkirk Herald: “This project was to work in partnership with the Punjab Police to design a course for the delivery of investigative interview training and forensic data recovery.

“These courses will ensure police recruits and first responders will be better prepared for evidence gathering through interviews.

“We landed as strangers in a country with a diversity of culture, religion and language but we left as friends, having formed long-lasting relationships with the people that we met in Pakistan.

“The first week was spent getting to know the students and we were able to discuss the cultural differences between Scotland and Pakistan – and to celebrate Pakistan army which saw military aircraft fly passes and displays from the Pakistan army, while we shared Tunnock’s tea cakes with the class!

“During the four-week deployment we quickly came to learn about the family-orientated and close-knit communities in which Pakistani officers live,”

Due to the workload, Cheryle and her colleagues had limited opportunity to see the sights, although they did visit the Faisal Mosque, one of the largest in the world, and the Pakistan Monument.