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British soldiers training Afghan police have hailed the success of a training course that has seen its biggest intake ever.
More than 200 Afghan Uniform Police (AUP) are on the current non-commissioned officer (NCO) course at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre, which is run by the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group (PMAG), headed by 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (1 PWRR).
Experienced patrolmen from across central Helmand province are sent to the training centre to learn how to take command of police checkpoints in their districts.
The training centre has been running the NCO courses for two years - which started with just eight students.
Captain Paddy Munns, responsible for mentoring the police chain-of-command in the area, said:
We are seeing huge improvements in Afghan Uniformed Police checkpoints that are being commanded by NCOs who have completed the course at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre. The training they receive is excellent and clearly increases the competence of the checkpoint commanders.
I also think a big part of these improvements is because the newly qualified NCO has more pride in his job. It’s the same in the British Army; often when you give someone more responsibility, they up their performance.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Terry Thomson said:
I think the new found acceptance of responsibility of AUP commanders passing out of the training centre is the same as a newly-promoted lance corporal in the way he relishes the responsibility.
Newly qualified NCO Islam Uddin, from Samangan, has taken over command of Checkpoint Sabir in Babaji area of Nahr-e Saraj district. Islam Uddin has previously trained at the Joint Sustainment Academy Shorobak, where he received a commander’s commendation for his achievement on the course.
Most of the patrolmen at his checkpoint have already attended the patrolmen’s course at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre, and Islam Uddin is determined to send the remainder on the course. He said:
The training at the Lashkar Gah Training Centre was very good and I have many happy memories from there. The lessons from the soldiers were very good and now I feel like I am prepared for anything that will happen at my checkpoint.
It is much better for the patrolmen to train at the training centre so they can learn all of the things that they need to know. If they do not go there, they will not know what to do. Once he goes there he will understand all of his duties and he will come back as a real policeman.
Bor Agha is the commander of Checkpoint Naeem in Babaji and works alongside an ISAF police advisory team every day. He said:
I think the NCO course is very beneficial. The instructors were very good and it put me in a good position as the checkpoint commander.
I am very happy with my relationship with the Babaji Police Advisory Team. The training they give is very beneficial and helps to build our police force, and it is important to work as one against the insurgents.
I feel very proud to be a checkpoint commander and to be in a position to make a difference in the security of Afghanistan.