Friday, May 22, 2009

MOD policeman swaps Yorkshire beat for Helmand heat

An MOD policeman with 20 years previous experience working with West Yorkshire Police is currentrly deployed to Helmand where he is mentoring the Afghan National Police Force.

Following two decades of service with his local police force, Inspector Bill McGuinness transferred to the Ministry of Defence Police in 2006. He deployed to Helmand Province in December 2008 where he works alongside his international police colleagues.

British and NATO forces are in Afghanistan to stabilise the war-torn country and to extend security, and vital to this is the development of the Afghan National Police.

Insp McGuinness is based at the Headquarters of UK Task Force Helmand in the town of Lashkar Gah.

One of his main roles is mentoring the police and passing on the basic skills he has picked up back in England, from evidence-gathering to conducting investigations and dealing with suspects.

He said:

"I have been involved in working in a number of other roles since arriving in Afghanistan including counter-narcotics and logistics. I am currently mentoring a major in the Afghan National Police who commands the Guard Force that is responsible for the security of the newly-built Provincial Police Headquarters in Lashkar Gah."

Although his police career in Yorkshire was certainly active, Insp McGuinness has witnessed more than his fair share of trauma during his tour in Afghanistan. One day in particular, 16 March 2009, will forever stand out in his memory:

"Obviously my colleagues and I will never forget the day the suicide bomber attacked the new police headquarters we were working in at the time," he said.

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