British College of Policing Earned $3.8M by Training Security Forces Including Bahraini Police
2016-06-08 - 11:37 م
Bahrain Mirror: "Bahrain is among the countries where Britain's College of Policing offers training in leadership, forensics and intelligence besides China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Uganda," reported the BuzzFeed website.
The website exposed the cooperation agreement and the provision of services between the British College of Policing and Bahrain's Ministry of Interior, signed on June 14th by Brigadier Tariq Al-Hassan on behalf of Bahrain, and David Buckel on behalf of British College of Policing. The agreement; however, does not explain anything about the nature of the training and costs.
BuzzFeed revealed that the college earned £6.2 million ($8.7 million) in the last three years "by offering the training contracts to security forces in a country that uses capital punishment."
"Despite the concerns over the countries in which it operates, the college has made vast profits on its overseas training contracts," the website further stated, noting that a freedom of information request by campaigners and seen by BuzzFeed News revealed that the college earned £6.2 million including £2.7 million from the Middle East only."
There are questions of transparency around "the exact nature of the training provided by the college. It does not disclose commercial details, partly because, it says, doing so could expose vulnerabilities in the capability of overseas police forces that could be exploited by criminals".
"Documents discussing the contracts that have been unearthed by campaigners, such as this agreement with the Kingdom of Bahrain, have done little to illustrate the nature of the work," the report highlighted.
Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade, which carried out the FOI request, told BuzzFeed News that "the police college has worked with some of the most repressive police forces in the world. There is very little information about what the work involves and no evidence that it has resulted in improved human rights anywhere."
"A number of the police forces involved have been accused of torture, and many uphold and enforce extremely repressive laws, including the death penalty. The UK police college should not be giving legitimacy to these practices or profiting from the oppression taking place," Smith added.
Earlier this year "the BBC's World at One revealed that more than 250 officers from Saudi Arabia had been given specialist training (on the hands of the British Police College), but the college refused to disclose the content of that training and the amount it was paid."
The Financial Times columnist David Allen Green said it was "hardly reassuring" to know that "the International Policing Assistance Board, which approves the deals, has never rejected a training proposal," pointing out, according to spokesperson for the College of Policing, that "the College has never provided overseas assistance without IPAB's recommendation."
The British Mirror Newspaper has already published a similar article about the training of Britain's national policing college to cops from the Middle East including 270 from Saudi Arabia, which has one of the world's worst human rights records.
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who uncovered the details of the Middle Eastern deals, told the Sunday Mirror: "Taking in millions of pounds training police officers from some of the countries with the worst human rights records in the world is profiteering at its worst," adding that "Without clear proof that these courses are specifically designed to train police officers to uphold human rights, it is time for the Government to put rights above profits and tell the College of Policing that training police to oppress their own people goes against everything that Britain believes in."
The College of Policing was set up as a professional training body for forces in England and Wales in 2012. It is registered as a company but says it operates as a non-profit organization. It is funded by the Home Office and from income through outside training, including foreign forces.
Sandhurst military academy had already offered training to countries from the brutal regimes of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.
Bahrain has always helped repressive regimes in the Middle East by offering them technical and human aids including John Yates, the former assistant commissioner of London's Metropolitan police who was assigned in December 2011 as an adviser to Bahrain's Ministry of Interior. Yates comes among a long list of British advisors in Bahrain, including Ian Henderson, the former British colonel who is known for his terrible torturing record when heading the security apparatus in Bahrain between 1966 and 1998.
Despite the crackdown and human rights violations, Britain proceeds in its endeavors for "security and defense interests", which makes observers wonder about the alleged British support for reforms, democracy and human rights, that according to them, are but a cover that Britain uses to hide its support for the Bahraini status quo."
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