On July 10, The Fourth Rail conducted a telephone interview with Robert Bodisch, the Director of Training, and Adam Muery, the National Police Training Coordinator. Both are part of Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq’s Civilian Police Assistance Training Team. The primary topics were recruiting, attrition, manning, equipping, and training of the Iraqi National Police, to include some details on regular and Auxiliary IP. A few notes and comments from the July 10, 2007 interview are below.
Recruiting, Attrition, and Manning: The Ministry of Interior is now handling the recruiting and screening of the Iraqi National Police (INP) and various other Iraqi police (IP) units , and has almost taken control of their training. Full biometrics, including fingerprints and retinal scans, are taken of new recruits as well as existing members of the police. There is no shortage of police volunteers. The yearly attrition is about 20 percent, but a major contributing factor to such a high rate is that the MoI had been redirecting local police to INP units. Recruits thought they were joining the local police only to find themselves in the INP and nationally deployable. (That would be like joining the Miami, Florida Police Department and being sent to work in Butte, Montana.) However, on June 3, the recruiting was changed, and volunteers now understand they are nationally deployable. The current manning of the INP is at approximately 65 percent.
Equipping and Training INP: INP Brigades are motorized formations, and half of their vehicles have received military-grade up-armoring, with a contract to up-armor all of the vehicles in progress. During their Phase II training each brigade can bring up to 300 vehicles for repairs, and the police receive on-the-job training to maintain their vehicles. The 1st INP Mechanized Brigade receives the same training as rest of INP, with additional mechanized training from the Iraqi Army. The 1st Mechanized Brigade has not gone through Phase II training yet. The 1st INP Mechanized is operating as a binary brigade (there are two battalions) since the brigade’s 3rd Battalion is detached as a national-level quick-reaction force that includes an Iraqi Army mechanized battalion and an Iraqi special operations forces commando company. The Phase III training, which is essentially carabinieri training, is still in development status. Details on this program are due to be released July 19. INP training is almost fully turned over to INP trainers. The four-week training instructor course has produced 156 INP trainers, 30 trainers are set to go to the Master/Advanced Trainer course, and 50 more are to be trained as instructors later this month. The advantages of this training program include no requirement for translators, an understanding of local nuances, and a feeling for the local environment. The International Police Advisors provide more of an international flavor to the training and mentoring the instructors.
Training IP: There are 13 Police Training Centers and two National Police Training Centers. Each center processes anywhere from 500 to 2,000 students every eight-week cycle. The IP runs the training in all of these centers except the newly established center at Habbaniyah. There are International Police Advisor Teams of two to five mentors at each training center. They work on a train-the-trainer format and are assisting training for the next three cycles at Habbaniyah. Due to the backlog of training the new Anbar Police, Habbaniyah is expanding past the planned 750 trainees per cycle. New personnel are also being trained at other regional IP training centers. Auxiliary IP, which includes provincial security forces and emergency response battalions, receive 80 hours of training and augment regular IP units.