Thursday, April 8, 2010

Policing In a (Very) Hot Place

MOD police help create and build an Afghan national police force

To increase security and build up civil institutions in Afghanistan Chief Inspector Paul Jordan is leading a team of 13 Ministry of Defence police officers who are helping to create a new Afghan police force - and it's not only the weather which gets very hot on this beat!

In time and with the help of the MOD Police (MDP) the new force will be fit to provide policing and security in Afghanistan without the assistance of ISAF forces.

Chief Insp Jordan is Head of the MDP's International Policing and Secondments Office and as such is at the forefront of building an integral part of Afghanistan's future.

This is his first deployment to Afghanistan but serving overseas is nothing new for the senior police officer with 36 years experience to his name "I worked in Kosovo with the UN back in 2004 where I was the Senior Investigating Officer on the 2004 March riots," Chief Insp Jordan explained.

"It was a difficult job but it doesn't compare to what I am doing out here. The base line I am working to is much lower than it was in Kosovo.

"The majority of people that we are training out here have not had the knowledge or education to give them a good grounding in police work. My job is to help rectify the situation with the help of my police and Army colleagues."

It's a challenging prospect and Chief Inspr Jordan's team is spread between the various Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and the Interim Helmand Police Training Centre in Lashkar Gah "I have a fantastic group of men and women working with me and I know that I can rely on their judgement," Chief Insp Jordan said.

"We are looking for those Afghan people who want to learn and want to make Afghanistan a safer place.

"One of the biggest challenges is to find the right people to be the Chief and the Deputy Chief of Police in an area. As police, we weigh people up fairly quickly and we are usually not far out.

"Even though we work through interpreters, we pick up on the subtleties of things like body language. It is this sort of detail that goes to the heart of my job out here."

The importance of the task was underlined by Inspector Steve Coppard, the MDP officer helping to mentor the chief of police in Gereshk.

Insp Coppard explained "The problem is if we don't get this right with the ANP, improve their legitimacy within the province and get the local nationals to start trusting them - stop their corruption and actually function - local nationals will turn to the Taliban for justice and that is just what the Taliban want.

Progress is being made and since being in Afghanistan, Chief Inspr Jordan has introduced district policing plans, mentoring guidelines and mentoring assessments for the MDP district Police Advisors to use with their Chiefs of Police and Deputies.

These guide lines are now also being used in other mentoring areas in Afghanistan. It is this sort of progress that Chief Inspr Jordan hopes will continue after his nine month deployment is finished:

"I don't think people know what an important job the civilians do out here," Chief Insp Jordan said.

"I am in the fortunate position in that I straddle both the military and civilian sides, so I see the contribution both elements make to stabilising and building Afghan governance."

The MDP are the UK's only completely armed civil police force and are responsible for security and policing at Ministry of Defence establishments.

In January 2008 they accepted the additional responsibility of providing tactical level support to policing operations in Helmand province, including sending personnel to the military FOBs.


  1. I think the MDP are fulfilling a very important role in Helmand Province. The development of the Afghan National Police is key to re-establishing security throughout the Country. Well done the MDP & keep up the good work.

  2. Sorry to be a pedant but the MDP aren't "The MDP are the UK's only completely armed civil police force"

    The Police Service of Northern Ireland are completely armed, on and off duty.