UK Government

Ministry Of Defence: Graduation of 138 Afghan national policemen from first course at the new interim Helmand Police Training Centre

Press Release   •   Feb 01, 2010 11:26 GMT

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan - The Interim Helmand Police Training Centre graduated its first cycle of Afghan national policemen during a ceremony today, January 28th in the Lashkar Gah district.

Helmand Deputy Governor Sattar Marzakwal, Maj Gen Gulam Ali Wahdat, Afghan Chief of Police in Regional Command-South, and Brig James Cowan, the Commander of Task Force Helmand, all attended the ceremony to send off the 138-strong graduating class.

"You have the responsibility of serving the Afghan people with dignity," said Marzakwal, the first speaker to address the graduates.

"Our people face problems in this country; however, we can solve them because you can solve them.  The only wish our people have is security for our country.  Fortunately, we have brave and honourable forces who can bring us peace."

Brigadier Cowan reiterated Marzakwal's call for provincial security and said the newly trained policemen were the first step toward a safe, happy, and prosperous Helmand.

"The task ahead is to bring security to Helmand in order to allow development and economic prosperity.  In that task, a professional and effective police force is crucial.  The policemen who graduate today will join the ranks of the Helmand police force, deploying their new-found skills where they are most needed," said Cowan.

Before the ceremony, groups of graduates demonstrated their skills in two separate policing situations.  One group cleared a compound, apprehending insurgents using proper detention techniques.  The other displayed vehicle and detainee search methods.

Not only were the graduates proud to demonstrate their skills but, they were glad to have had the opportunity to learn from their instructors, said one graduate.

"We had professional mentors who taught us everything about the military way of life," said Muhammad Wasri.  He said ambush skills, weapons training and tactical patrolling were the most useful skills he had learned.

Wasri said this training has readied him for his first assignment in the Nad-e Ali district.

Joining him there will be Guardsman Michael Harrison, a member of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards and an instructor for this initial training cycle.

"To see them actually graduating now is fantastic," said Guardsman Harrison.  "Now my unit is moving out, and we'll get to see them at the checkpoints.  Training them has actually benefited us just as much as it's benefited them."

Harrison said the Afghan National Security Forces are the road to a self-reliant Afghanistan.

“This first company of Afghan national police to graduate from the training centre can use their new training and advanced skills to fight for themselves,” he said.

Notes to editors:

Photographs by Pfc. Luke Rollins

The Interim Helmand Police Training Centre was stood up in December 2009 to help with the recruitment push for 160,000 policemen across Afghanistan by the end of 2010.

The recruits train on policing skills such as weapons handling, first aid, vehicle searches, and counter-IED .

The recruits receive literacy training and are familiarised with the Afghan constitution and rule of law.

The IHPTC borrows a curriculum for police training from similar training centres in Kandahar and Kabul, adding a level of professionalism upon regular pay and provided uniforms.

150 recruits are trained in each cycle.  In March 2010, when the IHPTC is operating at maximum capacity, three cycles will run simultaneously, totalling 450 recruits at a time and up to 2,550 students a year.

The facilities will continue to grow along with the enrolment.  A 100-meter firing range is currently under construction and plans for a counter-IED course are on the horizon.  A more permanent, concrete facility is a long-term goal.

The combined efforts of the Ministry of Interior and ISAF means the ANP are going from strength to strength.

The Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team’s funding, and more than 200 international staff, are provided by the UK, US, Danish and Estonian governments as part of the 43-nation NATO commitment to Afghanistan.

For further information on the Helmand PRT and its civilian police mentors please contact the PRT Press Officer (+93(0)700 286660, tim.shrewsbury@fco.gov.uk)

For further information on the Task Force Helmand police trainers working at the IHPTC please contact so2amediaopslkg@defencemediaops.co.uk.

Further pictures and an audio file will be available on www.defencenewsimagery.mod.uk

Caption for ...001
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan - Helmand Deputy Governor Sattar Marzakwal presents an Afghan National Police course instructor with a certificate of appreciation as Brig Gen James Cowan, Commander of Task Force Helmand, looks on during an ANP graduation ceremony 28 Jan at the Interim Helmand Police Training Centre in the Lashkar Gah district. The ceremony marked the graduation of the first training cycle from the training centre, which was stood up in December to increase the number of policemen in the Helmand province.

Caption for ...002
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan - Afghan National Police instructors conduct a company inspection before the graduation ceremony at the Interim Helmand Police Training Centre in the Lashkar Gah district 28 Jan. The ceremony marked the graduation of the first training cycle from the training centre, which was stood up in December to increase the number of policemen in the Helmand province.

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