Amnesty calls for tighter controls before training foreign police

Security forces in Libya and Bahrain among those trained by PSNI, says human rights organisation Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondentProtesters in Tobruk, Libya

Protesters in Tobruk, Libya. Amnesty says police in the UK should review their training of Libyan police. Photograph: Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

Amnesty International has called for police in Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK to review their training of Libyan and Bahraini police in the light of the crackdowns against pro-democracy protesters.
The human rights organisation said significant questions must be raised about what human rights criteria and standards, if any, were applied to the training given by the police service, especially given Libya and Bahrain’s record on crushing internal dissent and public protest.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said: “The PSNI [Police Service of Norhtern Ireland] has been involved in delivering training to security forces in Libya, Bahrain and other countries with atrocious human rights records.
“Given events in those countries, with the deaths of perhaps hundreds of innocent protesters at the hands of security forces, it looks as if the government’s risk-assessment system isn’t working. We need much tighter checks when training is being given to police forces with a history of human rights abuses.
“We call on the chief constable and the Northern Ireland policing board to look closely at recent events in Libya, Bahrain and other countries where they have helped to train the security forces, to ensure that much-needed lessons are learnt.
“A rigorous human rights assessment must be made before any future agreement to offer training to an overseas police force. In addition, the PSNI should carry out follow-up evaluation to ensure that any training offered results in an improvement in human rights and policing in that country.
“The Northern Ireland Policing Board should ensure that such criteria and assessments are applied to all such overseas training. In addition, we call for greater transparency around the delivery of such training, and ask that the chief constable openly declares such training in his annual report.”

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