British Police Officers To Train Iraqi Counterparts

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."

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.

Associated PressCopyright Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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