Bringing a police presence back to Iraqi communities

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By Capt Matt Zalot, Joint Task Force – Iraq Detachment Erbil Public Affairs Officer

During their campaign of illegal occupation, Daesh wreaked havoc on both the Iraqi people and their infrastructure, managing to destroy or render uninhabitable more than eight in ten Iraqi police stations. Iraqi authorities are well aware of the importance of a strong police presence in bringing stability to a post-Daesh Iraq. In their support, the largely Canadian Ministerial Liaison Team (MLT) began working with the Government of Iraq months ago on a number of initiatives aimed at restoring the rule of law in the liberated areas. One of these initiatives, the Police Presence in a Box (PPIB), was presented to the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) on July 3, 2017, by the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve CJ7 and head of the MLT, Canadian Brigadier-General Dave Anderson.

“The temporary police stations provide the fundamentals for a local police force to establish themselves and begin serving their citizens,” said Brigadier-General Anderson. In terms of equipment, the large tent arrives in a sea container and includes essentials such as furniture, lighting, water tanks, laptops, phones, a GPS, weapons storage, checkpoint equipment and two land cruiser vehicles.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Italian Carabinieri, a military police force, are collaborating to provide a training package to Iraqi police commanders and their staffs, as a supplement to the physical component of the PPIB.

It is the intent of the Combined Joint Task Force to deliver the one hundred PPIB packages at a cost of $25 million USD to the five liberated provinces of Iraq by the end of August 2017. While efforts to rebuild Iraq’s infrastructure and restore confidence in the government will take time and incredible effort, reestablishing an effective and trained police force is priority and the PPIB is the first of many such projects to help bring stability to Iraq. The key to a successful transition is to keep the emphasis on community-based policing.

The MLT is a Coalition organization that is embedded within the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve headquarters. Canada is the lead nation for forming and manning the 30-strong MLT, which is led by a Canadian general officer. The leadership, integral administrative support, and force protection are provided by Canada. The action officers of the MLT, in the form of liaison officers, include a Canadian RCMP officer and senior military members from Estonia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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