The next generation of Afghan policemen are beginning their new careers, having completed their British-led training and graduated.
A total of 89 newly-trained patrolmen and 28 junior commanders graduated on Saturday at a passing out parade at the Helmand Police Training Centre just outside the Helmand provincial capital of Lashkar Gah.
The officers will now be deployed across Helmand with the task of providing added security in the urban centres, while the Afghan National Army continue to provide security and deter the Taliban threat in rural areas.
Policing techniques and standards continue to improve across Helmand following the opening of the Helmand Police Training Centre in December 2009. The centre is now capable of turning out 180 newly-qualified policemen every three weeks, following an intensive eight-week course run by soldiers from The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS), supported by members of the UK Ministry of Defence Police.
Saturday’s events began with a ceremonial parade and inspection of the newly-qualified policemen by General Hakim Angar, Chief of Helmand Police.
Following the parade, a number of demonstrations of policing skills were carried out by the students. This gave them the opportunity to display their patrolling and emergency response techniques, as well as their skills in dealing with the threat posed by improvised explosive devices in their daily work.
In attendance alongside General Angar were several other high-ranking officers from the Afghan National Police (ANP) and from Helmand’s provincial government.
Lieutenant Colonel Adam Griffiths, Commanding Officer of 5 SCOTS, and officer in charge of development of the Afghan National Police in Helmand, said of the event:
It is always incredibly positive to see events like this. To be able to show the guests the standard of policemen who will soon be providing security in the towns and villages of Helmand is a great thing to be able to do. It’s this kind of thing which then improves our ability to recruit, and improves general confidence in the ANP among the local population.
5 SCOTS are two months into their deployment in Helmand province where they act as the Police Development Advisory Training Team (PDATT).
Of the task, Lt Col Griffiths added:
5 SCOTS has trained hard for this deployment and we are now really getting our teeth into the PDATT role. Our task is one which is evolving daily and we have already seen development of the standard of policing in Helmand.
The key theme for 5 SCOTS as we move forward is to consolidate progress made so far and look to further strengthen the capability and develop the capacity of the ANP in Helmand.