14/05/2003

UK sends policing advisors to assist in Iraq

Policing experts are traveling to Iraq today to advise on the stabilisation of the security situation and to participate in a review on how to rebuild the Iraqi police service.

The team of four will be led by Chief Constable of Hampshire - and Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) international portfolio holder - Paul Kernaghan.

Chief Constable Kernaghan and his team will travel to both Basra and Baghdad to assess what contribution UK policing could make to the reform of the Iraqi police service.

Speaking before his departure, Chief Constable Kernaghan said: "I recognise the challenge ahead but ACPO exists to provide operational leadership and professional advice to ministers in relation to policing. My role will be to establish an accurate picture of the reality on the streets of Iraq and consider what practical support can be afforded from within the police service of the UK.

"I look forward to working with coalition forces and ORHA personnel in helping the Iraqi people create a peaceful Iraq. The vital role of police officers in establishing stable societies is increasingly being recognised internationally and the UK has particular expertise to bring to bear in such situations."

The policing mission, working with an international team of policing experts in ORHA, will carry out a full assessment of the Iraqi police service. They will look in particular at working with Iraqis in reforming existing police capacity and structure, payment arrangements and public confidence in the police.

Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien said: "As I saw for myself when I visited Baghdad recently, rebuilding the Iraqi law enforcement and criminal justice systems is a big job. The UK team going out today will play a crucial role in our continuing efforts to create a stable and secure environment in Iraq. The Iraqi police force needs to be reformed into an effective organisation, which has full respect for the human rights of individuals.

"We look forward to receiving the policing mission's assessment on their return from Iraq."

The Home Office said it would play a "full and active part" in supporting the UK's contribution to establishing civil order in Iraq.

Ministry of Defence police officers first visited Basra in April to provide policing advice to UK forces in control of the city.

(GMcG)

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