Call to halt UK police training programmes for repressive states

By agency reporter
January 14, 2021

Campaigners have called for the UK Government to halt police training programmes for repressive state forces and conduct a review of all international training offered by the College of Policing.

Since its founding in 2012, the College of Policing has provided training and assistance to at least 78 countries, including many forces that have been accused of torture and other abuses.

The College has provided training for at least 12 countries that are listed as 'human rights priority countries' by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO): those countries are Afghanistan, Bahrain, China, Colombia, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

There are also a number of countries listed that have police forces that have been accused of torture but are not on the FCO list: those countries include Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and USA. All of these countries are also buyers of UK arms.

The College does not publish details of the training that it has provided. However, a recent Freedom of Information request by Campaign Against Arms Trade found that training for forces in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Nigeria and Oman happened as recently as 2019.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "Many of these police forces have been accused of torture and other abuses. They use their power to uphold brutal and repressive laws. The UK should not be collaborating with them or strengthening their authoritarian rule.

"The killing of George Floyd and the repression that followed drew international attention to state violence. But it is not just an issue in the United States, it is happening all across the world. There must be an end to the hypocrisy and a full review of which police units the UK has trained and if they have been responsible for human rights abuses."

* Camapaign Against Arms Trade https://caat.org.uk/


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