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PRESS RELEASE: CREATION OF POOL OF UK POLICE
OFFICERS FOR SERVICE IN IRAQ

UK FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE

August 1, 2003

 

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is seeking up to 200 volunteers to create a pool of UK police officers for potential deployment to Iraq to assist in the reform of the Iraqi Police Service.  The pool is intended to sustain the deployment of up to 100 UK officers at any one time.

The deadline for applications is 5 September, and the FCO intends to begin training successful applicants as soon as possible thereafter. Once authorised, deployments to Iraq from this pool will only take place once conditions are right and will be subject to regular security reviews.

UK officers will conduct training and mentoring duties in Iraq. Some, with training skills, may be deployed to a third country to assist in the out of country training of the Iraqi Police service.

Officers deployed to Iraq will be armed for personal protection. Firearms training will form part of the pre-deployment training syllabus.  Due to domestic policing requirements, officers currently authorised to carry firearms will not be considered for deployment.

Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons said:

"Security is a key issue for Iraqis. Much of Iraq's future development depends on getting this right. We have done much already to make Iraqis feel safer: they no longer have to fear Saddam's brutal regime. The daily life of Iraqis is immeasurably improved by this fact alone.

But we recognise we have more to do. And the police volunteers who go to Iraq will have the thanks of this government and of all the people of Iraq for the key task they will perform."

Home Office Minister Caroline Flint said:

"We are committed to establishing the rule of law within Iraq, and helping to create an effective and respected police force will be central to bringing stability to the region. The professionalism and expertise of our officers will be invaluable in reforming the Iraqi Police Service. Officers will be deployed only when conditions are right and every effort will be made to ensure their safety whilst on mission."

Note for Editors

In July two senior UK police officers - acting Deputy Chief Constables Douglas Brand (South Yorkshire Police) and Stephen White (PSNI) were deployed to Iraq to assist in the rebuilding of the Iraqi police service.

Douglas Brand went to Baghdad on 4 July and is the chief police adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Director for the Ministry of the Interior. Stephen White deployed to Basra on 15 July to take on the role of chief police adviser to CPA South. As part of their work they are assessing the conditions in theatre with a view to determining when further UK police assets might be deployed.

During his recent visit to Baghdad, the Foreign Secretary was asked by Paul Bremer, the head of the civilian administration in Iraq, for 100 UK police officers as part of the international effort. There are two clear prerequisites: (i) officers would need to be armed; and (ii) conditions, including security, coalition absorption capacity and strategy would need to be right. We will be better placed to judge conditions, and the consequent timing of a deployment, once DCCs Brand and White have reported back.

In the meantime, the Home Secretary has agreed to the Foreign Secretary's request to ask ACPO to create a pool of officers for firearms training, at the FCO's expense, for possible service in Iraq. ACPO (Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan, ACPO's International Affairs portfolio holder) has agreed to put a recruitment exercise for volunteers in hand.

When conditions are right for deployment, the FCO will approach the Home Office with proposals to draw on the pool for a UK police contingent.

 

 

 

 


 

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