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Iraq: Police

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made since July 2006 on achieving the milestones for police reform in the Iraqi provinces of (a) Al Basrah, (b) Al Muthanna, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Maysan; and if she will make a statement. (132518)

Since my reply to the hon. Member on 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1267W, the following progress has been made against milestones.

In Basra, there has been progress against milestones for police training, infrastructure and operational capability. 87 per cent. of police are now trained (increase from 63 per cent.) and the majority of training is now carried out by the Iraqis. Over 80 per cent. of police stations in Basra city are assessed as being largely or fully capable of carrying out their duties. The notorious ‘Serious Crimes Unit’ was disbanded by the December 2006 operation and a functioning Department of Internal Affairs has been established to investigate, arrest and prosecute corrupt police officers. Significant challenges do remain with the Basra police and we will continue to engage in reform activity.

The provinces of Dhi Qar1 and Maysan have been approved for transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control and were transferred on 21 September 2006 and 18 April 2007 respectively. The police forces in these provinces are now fully equipped and are judged by the National Civilian Policing Assistance Training Team as being largely capable.

1 The Italian contingent of Multi-National Force-Iraq has always had responsibility for police assistance in Dhi Qar province.