The Policewoman

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Chapter 2: International Criminal Police Organization-Interpol

08:58 GMT

Monday May 4, 2026

Interpol Manchester

Central Park, Manchester, England

Sarah arrives on schedule at the office of Interpol Manchester. Its office, in northeast Manchester, is in the same building as the Greater Manchester Police headquarters. She has just been invited into her new commander’s office and immediately introduces herself.

“Good morning, Mr. Broussard. I’m AKP Sarah Michelle Dharmawan from the Indonesian National Police. Reporting for duty, sir!”

Sarah salutes and stands to attention in the manner of the Indonesian National Police (INP). Her rank is AKP, or Ajun Komisaris Polisi, which is somewhat equivalent to Inspector in the UK.

Christopher Broussard glances at the beautiful, confident young woman in front of him. Sarah speaks in perfect English. Like most Brits, Broussard is sensitive regarding one’s accent and he’s a bit taken aback by this young Indonesian policewoman speaking with a West Country accent with a touch of Spanish. She doesn’t sound at all the way he’d imagined of an Indonesian woman. She’s wearing a simple, grey business suit with a white shirt and black shoes. She has dressed to blend in and even her Samsonite briefcase is simple, although it looks heavy.

“Good morning, Sarah,” says Broussard, standing up. “Stand easy, please.”

Sarah stands at ease in the INP manner and shakes hands with the head of Interpol Manchester.

“Let me be the first to welcome you to England, Sarah,” says Broussard warmly.

“Thank you, sir.”

“Oh, just call me Chief like the others around here.”

“Sure, Chief.”

“I would also like to thank you for coming here and thank the INP for sending you.”

“You’re welcome, Chief, glad we’re able to ’elp.”

“Please sit down. Would you like anything to drink? Some coffee, perhaps?”

“That would be lovely, Chief, thank you,” says Sarah.

Broussard calls his secretary to order a couple of cups of coffee.

“And how was your flight?” asks Broussard, opening some files on his tablet.

“’Orrible, Chief,” replies Sarah, smiling, “but at least I managed to survive the British Airways grub.”

Broussard laughs. He has also had bad experiences tasting the food of British Airways. Broussard’s secretary comes in with their coffee, which they sip before getting down to business.

“So, Sarah, your personnel file was sent by e-mail from NCB Indonesia last week, but I’ve only managed to skim through it. Maybe you can kick things off by telling me about yourself? Could you please start with your family?” says Broussard. He’s still friendly, but there’s no mistaking this for anything other than a direct order.

“Well, my dad is a retired general in the Indonesian Marines and Mum owns a successful cosmetics company in Indonesia. I ’ave one older brother in the Indonesian Air Force and a little sister in secondary school.”

“Pardon me for mentioning this, but you don’t look or sound like any of the other Indonesians I know.”

Sarah laughs. “Well, Dad is Indonesian, but Mum is ’alf English and Spanish. They met when Dad was stationed at Poole on a secondment with the SBS. About six years after I was born, Dad was sent to Poole again for six years so the ’ole family moved there. My little sister was born in England just before we ’ad to return to Indonesia. My brother and I went to Bournemouth Collegiate School at Poole. So, basically, English is my first language.”

“That explains your accent then,” says Broussard, smiling.

People from West Country usually don’t pronounce the letter ‘h’, which is known as aitch-dropping. Broussard usually associates the West Country accent with farmers… or pirates. But he has to admit that it sounds nice coming from the stunningly beautiful Indonesian policewoman in front of him, even if it’s ever so slightly unnatural.

“Why did your father stay so long in Poole on his second tour?” continues Broussard.

“Dad went to ’Amworthy Barracks almost every day, but ’e never did told us about what ’e ’ad done back then,” explains Sarah. “While ’e was in England, ’e also took the time to study for a master’s degree in War Studies from the University of Kent in Canterbury.”

Broussard smiles again. It’s really quite a thing, her voice in full flow. “How about your career in the INP?”

“Well, after I graduated from the Police Academy, I decided to join Brimob, and then was almost immediately inducted into Gegana,” says Sarah.

“Brimob?”

“It’s a paramilitary unit of the INP, like The Met’s SCO19 that ’andles extraordinary crimes.”

“And Gegana?”

“It’s a step up from Brimob, but with a greater emphasis on EOD and counterterrorism.”

Broussard continues without looking at his tablet. “And then after that, you were hand-selected to join Densus-88?”

Sarah tries hard not to react, but she eventually blushes. “I’m sorry, Chief, but I’m not allowed to talk about that.”

“No, no, don’t apologize. I shouldn’t have asked that question,” says Broussard, smiling. “And I assure you that I will be the only one here who knows that particular bit of information. I happen to know this because I got to know your Police Brigadier General Prasetyo when I was assigned as a liaison officer to NCB Indonesia quite a few years ago. Don’t worry, I told the other team members that you were from the Traffic Management Centre before they transferred you to Interpol.”

So her Interpol commander knows Police Brigadier General Prasetyo, the commander of Detasemen Khusus-88 (Densus-88), which is Indonesia’s leading antiterrorist unit. Sarah is relieved, because all members of Densus–88 are obliged to conceal their membership.

Sarah continues. “About a week ago, I received orders to transfer to the Interpol National Central Bureau for Indonesia and they then told me to immediately sort myself for Interpol Manchester.”

“Right, so here you are. Do you know why you’ve been sent here?”

“I ’aven’t the foggiest, Chief,” answers Sarah.

Broussard nods, unsurprised. “My team and I will give you a full briefing in a few minutes, but let me ask you a question. You joined Brimob, then Gegana, and then, well, you know where. Why?”

“Well, I never wanted to be just a regular policewoman in the INP. The INP initially wanted me in Public Relations for some reason, but I preferred a much more active role in combatting crime. My dad was once the commanding officer of Denjaka, which is a counterterrorist unit of the Indonesian Marines, and my brother is now a detachment commander of a counterterrorist unit in the Indonesian Air Force. My brother would probably take the mickey out of me for the rest of my life if I ’adn’t qualified for… you know… that unit you mentioned.”

“I’m sure your parents are very proud of you two.”

“Actually, Mum complains that no one in the family wants to take over ’er business when she retires. Even my little sister wants to join the navy.”

Broussard laughs and continues studying the file in front of him. “It says here that other than Indonesian and English, you are highly proficient in Spanish, French, Dutch, and German?”

“Mum can speak those languages and she taught all of us, including Dad. She made all of us practice every day. We even ’ave a schedule. For example, on Mondays I’m only allowed to speak French, my brother is only allowed to speak German, my little sister Spanish, my dad Dutch, and Mum Ba’asa Indonesia. The next day we switch languages and so on. We were only allowed to speak English when Mum wasn’t around.”

“What do you usually use all those languages for?” asks Broussard.

“Oh, I usually pray in Spanish, speak French to my boyfriend, curse in Dutch, and talk German to my German Shepherd,” answers Sarah.

Broussard laughs out loud, but Sarah wasn’t joking. Their family dog, whose name is Jürgen, was taught German commands by her family and it’s the only language he understands. Broussard’s file isn’t up-to-date. Sarah can also speak fluent Arabic, but she decides her new commander doesn’t need to know that unless it becomes relevant to her job in England.

“We could certainly use your language skills here, but what we really need is your experience in investigation and intelligence gathering. Not so much your combat skills,” says Broussard. “I hope you’re not too disappointed.”

“I think I’ve ’ad enough action in the INP to last a lifetime, Chief,” says Sarah, smiling.

Broussard laughs again. “Right then, let’s meet the team, shall we?”

He stands and leads Sarah to the meeting room near his office. Inside are five people who all seem to be from the UK. All of them are in their late thirties, except a young woman who looks in her late twenties. Barring her new commander, who’s wearing a business suit, the rest of the team are dressed in business casual, which makes Sarah feel like she’s wearing the wrong costume to the party.

“Good morning, everyone. I would like you all to meet our newest team member, Inspector Sarah Dharmawan from the Indonesian National Police,” says Broussard.

Everyone comes forward and shakes hands with Sarah.

“DCI Matthew Gallagher, Police Service of Northern Ireland. Please call me Matt.”

“Detective Chief Inspector Arthur Grimes, Metropolitan Police Service.”

“James Hicks, Security Service.”

“Sáirsint Elizabeth O’Connell, An Garda Síochána. Ye can call me Liz.”

“I’m Paul Elliot from the National Crime Agency. Hoo yee gannin’, pet?” asks Paul, the final member of the team, at high speed.

Although Sarah has heard the Geordie accent before, it takes her a second to understand him. “I’m all right, Paul. Thank you for asking.”

“Wow! Can ye really understand him?” asks Liz with her thick Irish brogue.

“I took a shot in the dark,” says Sarah, joking. “Actually, I don’t understand any of you.”

Everyone laughs, including Broussard, who’s laughing the loudest. It seems Sarah’s new commander also has trouble sometimes understanding his team members.

“Where’s Michael?” asks Broussard to his team.

Liz answers. “He just got back from Belfast and will be in shortly. He said he needed to download and print some files first.”

“Right then. Can everyone please take their seats?” says Broussard.

Everyone sits down and Liz directs Sarah to a chair opposite Broussard. On Sarah’s left sit Arthur, Paul, and James, and on her right, Matt and Elizabeth. The chair beside Liz is empty and so is the one beside Sarah. She also notices that James, Matt, and Elizabeth are Irish. Just after everyone has settled themselves, the door opens and another person walks in carrying some files.

“Michael, I would like you to meet Inspector Sarah Dharmawan from the Indonesian National Police,” says Broussard.

Sarah stands and shakes hands with Michael, whose hand feels as rough as sandpaper and whose face is full of scars. He seems to be in the same age group as Sarah and Liz.

“Major Michael Adrian, British Army,” says Michael, blinking as if he’s seen Sarah before.

Sarah gets the feeling Michael recognizes her, but that’s impossible unless he reads Indonesian fashion or fitness magazines. Sarah’s intrigued to have a representative from the military in this team, but no representatives from the GMP, the Greater Manchester Police. Michael has a King’s English accent with a touch of Irish, unlike Broussard and Arthur, who have an Estuary English accent, commonly used by people from South East London.

Michael gives the files he brought to James. “I’ve e-mailed you the file and here’s some info on Rory Hanrahan, courtesy of the Intelligence Corps.”

James, the MI5 man, opens the files and studies them quickly. “I owe ye a big, fat, juicy steak, mate. I’d like to follow up on this immediately, Chief,” he says, standing up.

Broussard nods and James leaves the room. Michael then sits beside Liz.

“How was your weekend in Belfast, Michael?” asks Broussard, preparing his tablet.

“Fine,” answers Michael curtly.

“What did you do there?”

Michael thinks for a moment before answering his commander. “I met an old girlfriend.”

“Ah… so you’ve been dating your old girlfriend, then?”

“Indeed, Chief,” answers Michael with a cheeky grin.

“Did you bring her with you to Manchester?”

“The thought crossed my mind, Chief… but then her husband probably would’ve objected.”

Paul chokes on his coffee while the others try hard to stifle their laughs. They fail miserably and Broussard is not amused. It takes a while for the room to settle down.

“Let’s not wait for James to return. Since we have a new member, I would like to start from the beginning,” says Broussard, glowering at Michael.

Broussard connects his tablet to the TV behind him via Bluetooth and it shows a map of Ireland. A formal briefing usually starts with the Preliminaries, and continues with Situation, Mission, Execution, Command, and Support. This is called the Five Paragraph Order. The briefing contains everything from the most general matters to the most specific. After the briefing, even the dumbest person in the room should have understood the goal of the assignment and what role they would play.

’And the dumbest person in the room is me,’ thinks Sarah. ‘First day of work and there’s so much information to absorb from such a dry, formal briefing.’

“Let’s start with the Preliminaries,” says Broussard. “As you can see on the screen, this is the map of Ireland…”

Broussard starts with the geography of Ireland, its demographics, its history, and then on a part of Irish history called The Troubles. “The Troubles was caused by the disputed status of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom and a sense of discrimination against the Nationalist minority by the dominant Unionist majority. As early as 1969, armed campaigns began by paramilitary groups to end British rule in Northern Ireland and to create a new ‘All-Ireland’, ‘Thirty-Two County’ Irish Republic. These paramilitary groups were responsible for countless bombings and lost lives in both Britain and Ireland. The ranks of these groups were filled with ‘professionals’, who didn’t have daily jobs or careers and had dedicated their lives to the cause in which they believed. To fund their activities, these groups relied largely on the drug trade, from cocaine, heroin and cannabis, to ecstasy.”

Sarah is familiar with some of the details Broussard’s reciting, but is grateful to him for bringing her up-to-date. James enters the room and sits down in his previous place.

Broussard continues. “The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a major step in the peace process. One aim of The Agreement was that all paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland would cease their activities and disarm. In response, the UK government announced military cuts which included the Royal Irish Regiment, in which three of its five battalions were disbanded in 2007. I will explain the significance of this later.”

“It was not until June 2009 that all paramilitary groups officially decommissioned their arsenals. However, they still retained a considerable amount of weaponry beyond what was needed for self-defence. This left us with a new issue; their so called ‘professionals’ had employment problems and chose to continue their drug operations. Not for the cause, this time, but for personal wealth. This group of criminals has evolved into one of the world’s most organized and sophisticated crime syndicates. Their experience in smuggling weapons is now focused on smuggling narcotics. Their original members were mostly from Ireland, either from Northern Ireland or from the Republic of Ireland, but now their members are from all over the UK… and much more dangerous.”

Broussard pauses for effect and Sarah looks up from her tablet. Her new commander, she realizes, is a natural storyteller.

“More dangerous because, since the year 2020, almost all of their core members are ex-soldiers of the British Army.”

The others in the room nod. They know this all already, but it still carries impact every time it’s said.

“Following the 2010 General Election, the new government instituted a new defence review called Army 2020, which was to reduce the size of the British Army from approximately 102,000 members to nearer 82,000 members by the year 2020. As part of this objective, the infantry was reduced in size from thirty-six regular battalions to just thirty-one.”

“As a result, the army-restructuring policy caused employment concerns for the UK. Most of the ex-army personnel found employment in law enforcement and some others chose to join private security companies. After most of them were disbanded in 2007, scores of ex-members of the Royal Irish Regiment joined the French Foreign Legion. There is such a significant number of ex-Royal Irish Regiment members in the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment that they started calling themselves the 2nd Royal Irish Regiment of the French Foreign Legion.”

Sarah’s teammates smirk when they hear that. Broussard waits until the room settles before continuing his briefing.

“Most of the rest found work in one role or another, but a minority became criminals. A recent independent study of the prison population in the UK showed that almost twelve percent are ex-servicemen from all branches of the armed forces. After serving their sentence, some of them eventually found their way into this organization. The irony is that most of the senior members of this organization are ex-members of the Royal Irish Regiment, who gave operational support to the RUC and then later to the PSNI in the war against the paramilitaries. Now it seems that they have allied themselves with the ex-paramilitaries in forming this drug syndicate.”

“This group have called themselves The Irish Drug Cartel. Ever since their formation, they have been using tactics from the South American drug cartels. They bribe, intimidate, torture, threaten, maim, and assassinate anyone who gets in their way. Especially law enforcement personnel and local politicians. They have a habit of not just torturing and killing their target, but also the target’s family members as well, and hundreds of these drug-related deaths have been attributed to The Cartel.

“These past three years, The Cartel has concentrated their efforts in the production and distribution of MDMA, better known as ecstasy. The street name in the UK is ‘Mandy’ and it is mostly free of adulterants. MDMA can induce euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, diminished anxiety, and mild psychedelia, and it’s a highly popular drug because it’s not addictive. MDMA is a Class A drug and is illegal to have, give away, or sell. Possession can fetch one up to seven years in prison, and supplying to someone else, including your friends, can mean a life sentence as well as an unlimited fine. We believe they have drug manufacturing plants, or DMPs, within the UK, the Republic of Ireland, and abroad.”

Broussard stresses the word ‘abroad’ and once again, all eyes turn to Sarah. “We have only recently acquired intel that, most unexpectedly, the largest drug factory of The Cartel is not in the UK nor Republic of Ireland… but in Indonesia.

“This is why you are here, Sarah. Paul and James will give you a more detailed briefing regarding this new intel after the meeting. This concludes the Preliminaries and now James will continue with the Situation.”

Sarah nods. Now she understands who and what she’s up against and why she’s needed on this team.

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