A key element of Iraqi Police (IP) primacy is that the citizens of Iraq will see their police forces as responsible for the day-to-day safety and security of their communities.
The leadership of the Ministry of Interior recognizes that for the Iraqi police to succeed they must always present a professional approach and earn the trust of the Iraqi people. MoI has set out on an effort to enforce the standards on duty at all times. While leadership and individual training are the top ways to raise the standards, MoI has set out to add a new element to enforce the standard.
Recently, the Directorate of Internal Affairs organized, trained and fielded Iraq’s first Disciplinary Police unit in Baghdad under the command of Lt. Col. Ayad Abd Hasoon, a former Iraqi Army Special Forces officer who most recently served as the Internal Affairs officer with the 4th Federal Police Division.
One hundred Iraqi police officers and commissioners (police non-commissioned officers) from Internal Affairs and the Baghdad Police were selected to form the first unit. Their mission is to observe for violations that affect regulations and discipline by MOI personnel. The Disciplinary Police primarily help with corrections ‘on the spot’ for duty, uniform and appearance violations. However, they have the authority to bring violators of Iraqi Law to a central facility where the IP’s commander assumes responsibility for establishing a disciplinary board. When appropriate, significant violations of police conduct are presented to the MOI Cassation Court, which has the authority for punishments to include: confinement, fines, reductions in rank, and, in more serious cases, being fired from the police force. In the event of serious offenses, the Disciplinary Police will supervise the detention of police officers.
On May 26, sharpened by a tough selection and training program, the Baghdad Disciplinary Police began operations ‘on the street.’ Ayad reports that public reaction has been very positive. Disciplinary Police Commissioner IP Ali Sami Abood told me that he had received training in laws, duties and responsibilities (of IPs), drill, duties at shrines and military tactics prior to beginning his patrol duties. Ali mentioned that fellow Shurta were impressed by the professional appearance and standards of the Disciplinary Police and quick to make corrections on the spot.
General Director of Internal Affairs Maj. Gen. Ahmed Taha believes that “we should have done this a long time ago.” Justifiably proud of his new unit, he intends to grow the capability with careful selection of new DP candidates and training.
Additionally, the Disciplinary Police will participate in law and order duties during religious, national sporting events and major ceremonies. The Baghdad unit is authorized a strength of 250 officers and commissioners. MOI’s plan is to develop similar units for each province under the direction of Internal Affairs.
This program is a great way to help strengthen ever-growing confidence in the Iraqi police force. I am proud to witness yet another successful move toward police primacy and look forward to seeing more Disciplinary Police units emerge in all the provinces.
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