Iraqi Police Failure

You think cops is cops? Wrong!

In a report released today, The Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq calls for Iraqi police units to be dissolved.  The current force is a creature of American and British planning, and therein lies a fundamental weakness.


Iraq has had a criminal justice system on the French pattern since it was ruled by the Ottoman Turks. The role of police, as in most places in Europe and the rest of the world, differs from that of our Anglo-American tradition. There are several kinds of police, some responsible for civil matters and governed by administrative law, others directed by judges in criminal investigations, and a national police, directed by the central bureaucracy, for security matters.


American and English police procedure and law are quite different, but Iraq’s police were re-organized and trained by US and UK officers and consultants. The inevitable misunderstandings may be responsible in part for the absolute failure of current Iraqi policing noted by the GAO committee. Any rebuilding effort should involve administrators and trainers familiar with the appropriate traditions of criminal justice.


More on this in future posts.

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