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Iraqi Police Service (IPS)

By 2010 the IPS were increasingly becoming a professional force that, in conjunction with a maturing court system, supports the rule of law throughout Iraq. The IPS consists of all provincial police forces (station, patrol, traffic, and special units) assigned to the Iraqi provinces, located in more than 1,200 police stations across the country. The IPS directs policy and strategic planning and has technical control over the training, vetting, and hiring of Shurta (policemen and policewomen) and officers. The IPS continued progress throughout Iraq in several areas that support efforts to establish counter-insurgency capability and capacity that provides national stability through counter explosive and anti-narcotic efforts. As of May 31, 2010, there were approximately 297,000 provincial police forces (IPS and Iraqi Civil Defense Directorate).

The Iraqi Police Service falls under the authority of the Ministry of Interior. Essentially a municipal force, it is tasked with Law Enforcement duties, and provides basic police services. It should eventually include a Highway Patrol service and provide as well fixed site security. The Iraqi police is also tasked with assisting Coalition Forces on raids, though it is not responsible for terrorist or military crimes investigation. It does not conduct investigative operations.

The Iraqi Police Service (IPS) falls under the Security Department of MOI. The Police are administered at the provincial level and are generally called Iraqi Police or IPs. Each provincial police force has Patrol, Station, Traffic and Highway Patrol branches. The Patrol Police answer calls for assistance, take suspects into custody and deliver them to Police Stations for subsequent holding or release. The Station Police compile and maintain crime reports, respond to requests for assistance from the public and assist Investigative Judges in criminal cases. The Traffic Police have duties such as directing traffic, enforcing traffic laws, registering vehicles, and issuing driver’s licenses. Provinces also have Highway Patrol Police who patrol the major highways, provide law enforcement and internal security along Iraq’s highways.

The IPS are recruited locally and are generally reflective of the demographic makeup of its neighborhoods. Historically, Iraqi police do not have a good reputation. Because they were not essential to the [former] regime’s survival, the Iraqi police were typically under-resourced and poorly paid, with the average policeman making around $5 or less per month. Because of the poor pay and resources, police were not highly regarded and often supplemented their income through corruption. Though the police had a reputation among citizens for being able to maintain order, this security depended a great deal on their reputation for human rights abuse.

It should also be considered that the role of police in Iraq and the Arab societies is different than that of western police. Police in western society are generally proactive and work to deter, detect and defeat crime. Historically, Iraqi police have been more reactionary and respond to crime only after it has been committed.

The Federal [FP] often work with the Iraqi Police because of overlapping geographical responsibilities, but it is a strained and difficult relationship. The FP generally view the IP as inferior within the MOI and as a security force. The chain of command is often not clear and the roles and responsibilities are seldom well defined. The FP view the IP as lazy and corrupt (often stemming from the historical perceptions) and are reluctant to actively work with or train them.

Members of the Iraqi Police Service are equipped with pistols, shortguns and AKs. They are also equipped with a variety of vehicles. Their uniform consists of light blue shirts with navy pants. A brassard can complement the uniform and clearly indicates the letters 'IP' or 'IPS'.

The Iraqi police force has continued to grow to approximately 75,000 personnel by February 2004-- about 10,000 more than in November 2003. On 29 January 2004, the first 466 of the 35,000 officers to be trained in Jordan graduated from the multinational training program for police recruits. Germany has agreed to provide police experts in forensics to train approximately 150 Iraqi police in the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, the Coalition Provisional Authority was also making progress in developing special capabilities within the Iraqi Police Force, including in counterterrorism and in basic criminal investigation.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on September 15, 2004, Joseph Bowab, deputy assistant secretary of State for foreign assistance programs and budget, acknowledged that none of the 32,000 Iraqi Officers put in place since the downfall of Saddam Hussein's Regime had completed a full training program.

Knight Ridder Newspapers reported on Oct. 23, 2004, that the Iraqi Interim Government had been conducting a purge of the Iraqi Police Service over the previous months, and removing a number of officers from its payrolls for either corruption, lack of qualifications or for failing altogether to show up for duty while still receiving pay. As a result, while the IPS was believed to be standing at a 91,000 strength as of May 2004, revised numbers put the number of Iraqi police officers closer to 40,000.

Some 62,000 trained police were on duty as of late June 2005. To date, over 35,000 police recruits had completed the 8-week basic police classroom training, and more than 35,500 veteran police had received the 3-week Transition Integration Program (TIP) training. Over 13,500 police personnel had completed specialized training, such as fingerprinting, explosive ordnance disposal, investigations, and counterterrorism.

New police academy graduates do not receive the originally envisioned field training by International Police Liaison Officers (IPLOs) due to the security situation, so new police receive informal mentoring from veteran Iraqi police.

Police are recruited through a combination of methods depending on the stability of the province in which they live. In stable provinces, recruiting is done by Ministry of the Interior (MOI), community leaders, IPLOs, and Multinational Force Major Subordinate Commands (MSCs). In areas where insurgents are more active, the MSCs play a larger role in recruitment. The Iraqi police advertise for recruits via radio, posters, police stations, and employment centers. Most recruiting is done from the local population, with the goal of matching the ethnic composition of the local area; however, all police must commit to serving anywhere in the nation if necessary.

Police recruits undergo a physical fitness test, medical examination and background check; increasingly, more sophisticated vetting tools are being developed and employed. Vetting is performed by the MSCs and, on a more limited basis, by an assessment tool developed by an MNSTC-I contractor that screens for literacy, cognitive, and suitability characteristics.

MSCs increasingly engaged Iraqi Police Service Chiefs in the review of the police candidate rosters. The MOI and MNSTC-I's Coalition Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT) worked closely together to conduct training and deploy IPS in-processing teams (vetting teams). These in-processing teams deployed to Al Kut, Basrah, Al Hillah, and Mosul police academies. This process was completed by November 2005, and thereafter police candidates were vetted by MOI. The MOI Qualifying Committee had received information on 120,000 MOI employees. The work of the Qualifying Committee to weed out "ghost employees" (who are being paid but not working) and other police who did not meet minimal standards was ongoing.

The IPS uses a variety of equipment, including Chevy Luv and Nissan pick-up trucks, mid-size SUVs, AK 47s, PKC machine guns, Glock pistols, HF radios, and body armor. The goal is for each police officer and station to be equipped with mission-essential equipment.

The rate of absenteeism, AWOL, attrition, and desertion in the IPS varied by province. Most police units experienced a decrease in absenteeism as the number of trained police increased. The exact extent of insurgent infiltration is unknown. Effectiveness of the Iraqi police officer cadres and the chain of command varies by province and the experience level of the chain of command. The P3 teams are focusing their efforts on developing capability at the provincial police headquarters and MOI in a top-down approach.

It was reported on 4 October 2006 that a Baghdad assigned police unit, a brigade consisting of between 650 to 700 men, was suspended for complicity with Shiite death squads. The removal of the brigade occurred after the execution of two workers and the kidnapping of 24 workers (seven of which were later found killed) at a frozen food plant in the Amil district of Baghdad two days earlier. Sunnis have complained that Iraqi police have turned a blind eye to Shiite militia activities. The suspension was intended as a sign that the Iraqi Interior Ministry was taking the problem seriously. It is expected that the men involved will undergo re-training. The lieutenant colonel in charge of the unit was detained for questioning, while the major general in charge of the battalion has been suspended and transferred.

Iraqi Highway Patrol (IHP) The IHP has about 1,400 members trained and on duty. IHP officers attend a 21-day training program that covers basic policing, driving skills, convoy escort, and weapons qualification with pistol, rifle, and machine gun. The IHP officers use a variety of equipment: Chevy Luv pick-up trucks, mid size SUVs, Nissan pick-up trucks, AK-47 assault rifles, PKC machine guns, Glock pistols, HF radios, and body armor. The goal for recruiting is a minimum of 300 cadets monthly until a force of 6,300 is built. All IHP patrolpersons and officers graduate from the four-week IHP Academy. The equipment goal for is for each patrolperson and station to be equipped with mission-essential equipment. The IHP will start working with the U.S. Military Police Brigade in Baghdad in July 2005 to develop individual and squad skills and defined goals.

Civil Intervention Force (CIF) There are three main CIF elements: the ERU, the 8th Mechanized Police, and the Public Order Brigade (POB). Each type of CIF receives different training. The ERU personnel receive a four-week basic and four-week advanced Crisis Response Training (CRT) course. Selected individuals will go through a five-week Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training course. The 8th Mechanized Brigade receives a six-week training course. Selected personnel attend an Operator and Maintenance course at Taji for the Armored Security Vehicles. Lastly, the POB receives a six-week training course at Numaniyah Training Base.

The CIF use a variety of equipment: Chevy Luv pick-up trucks, mid size SUVs, Nissan pick-up trucks, AK-47 assault rifles, PKC light machine guns, Glock pistols, HF radios, and body armor. The 8th Mechanized Brigade uses BTR armored personnel carriers with 23mm cannon. Each battalion and member is currently equipped with all mission-essential equipment.

Most recruiting is done from the local population, with the goal of matching the ethnic composition of the unit with that of the area in which it is deployed. The first three Public Order Battalions were brought into the ISF without the MOI and MNSTC-I’s Coalition Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT)-developed training. The 4th Public Order Battalion completed training last month. Each battalion is equipped with all mission-essential equipment. These units should be fully trained and equipped by the fall of 2005. Notably, the ERU has a miniscule AWOL/attrition rate. The 8th Mechanized Brigade has a moderate rate, and the Public Order Battalions experience AWOL and attrition rates that are inversely proportional to their pay and training. Candidates for CIF are recruited from the surrounding police stations and provinces. As with other police units, the exact extent of insurgent infiltration is unknown. A vetting process is used to screen out foreign elements. The effectiveness of the Iraqi police officer cadres and the chain of command varies by province and the experience level of the chain of command.

Provincial Emergency Battalions The Provincial Emergency Battalion units are formed by the local Chiefs of Police without Coalition Forces' involvement. To date, CPATT has not conducted training for these units and has not provided equipment or supplies. If these units join a recognized MOI unit, then they would receive full training and supplies.

Provincial Special Weapons and Training (SWAT )Provincial SWAT teams have been formed by some governors and provincial police chiefs. In addition to standard police basic training, the provincial SWAT teams receive four weeks of training consisting of Human Relations and Police Conduct, Firearms Training (with AK-47 assault rifles and Glock pistols), Mechanical Breaching (e.g., multiple entry, multiple rooms), and Specialty Training - Sniper Training, Offensive Driving, Intelligence, and Surveillance. Recruits are drawn from existing IPS officers selected by IPLOs assigned to the province of origin. These forces mainly use Chevy Luv pickups, AK-47s and Glock pistols. These forces are first trained to a basic level and are receiving additional practical skills training. New SWAT personnel are recruited only as replacements for existing SWAT teams. An increase in specialized training is required.

The rate of absenteeism varied by province for the police service. The extent of insurgent infiltration is unknown. A vetting process is used to screen out foreign elements and criminals. The effectiveness of the Provincial SWAT chain of command also varied by province and the experience level of the chain of command.

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Page last modified: 12-01-2012 18:11:26 ZULU