The Associated Press
LONDON -- A group of British police officers have
traveled to the southern Iraqi city of Basra in order to train local
police forces, Britain's Foreign Office said Wednesday.
The 24 British officers, who traveled to Iraq earlier this month,
will work alongside British royal military police at the Regional
Police Training Academy in Al Basra Province. They will provide basic
training in civilian policing for existing Iraqi police officers.
Commenting on the deployment, Foreign Office Minister Liz Symons
said, "Security is an essential part of building a stable and
prosperous future for the people of Iraq."
She added, "Thanks to the personal contribution of these 24 police
officers, I hope to see increasing numbers of Iraqi police officers
ready and able to take on the daily business of policing Iraqi
streets for themselves."
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According to Britain's Foreign Office, the Coalition Provisional
Authority in Iraq plans to train 35,000 new Iraqi police officers by
the end of 2004 and to retrain 450,000 existing officers.