http://diyaruna.com/en_GB/articles/cnmi_di/features/2017/09/14/feature-02

Women's Rights |

Ninawa police to recruit more female officers

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi policewomen salute during an April 2016 ceremony. [Photo from the Interior Ministry's Women Committee Facebook page]

In the days ahead, the Ninawa police will welcome more women into its ranks.

The decision, which has been approved by the Iraqi interior ministry, comes as part of an effort to establish security in the province after the defeat of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).

The idea of encouraging more female women to join the police force is not new, Ninawa police chief Brig. Gen. Watheq al-Hamdani told Diyaruna.

"But we are today trying to execute it on the ground by devising a special programme that will help graduate skilled policewomen," he said.

This will be organised by the Ninawa police, he added, and will include advanced training courses for female recruits taught by Iraqi and foreign instructors.

Multiple roles for policewomen

The police force suffers from a lack of female personnel, al-Hamdani said.

"We currently only have 24 women in the police force," he said, adding that "we need a minimum of 100 policewomen".

"We have an urgent need for trained policewomen to check women who come to government institutions," he said.

Women also can be trained to monitor networks of female criminals and those linked to ISIS and to facilitate their arrest, he added.

There is a need for women to be involved in other parts of the police service, such as the citizenship, passports and traffic departments, he said, as well as in prison management and in monitoring the implementation of human rights.

"We seriously lack female participation in maintaining security," said Ninawa provincial council security committee member Hassan Shabib.

"Any move that will enhance that participation is positive and welcome, since it will reflect positively on the security of our cities and the protection of our citizens," he told Diyaruna.

Before ISIS's occupation of Mosul, women served in the Facilities Protection Service, which is tasked with the protection of Iraqi government buildings, facilities and personnel.

"Now, after the liberation of Mosul, their number must increase and their participation in serving their country must be expanded," Shabib said.

Combating ISIS ideology

It is necessary to raise awareness about the importance of having women join the police and contribute to establishing and maintaining security, Shabib said.

"Women have successfully proven their competence in many fields and occupations," security expert Jassim Hanoun told Diyaruna.

They are currently providing key security and police services in several government facilities, including in the intelligence, civil affairs and communications departments, he said.

"Therefore, there is a need to increase the number of female personnel in the Ninawa police and rely more on their skills," he added.

"Their effective participation, especially now that the province has just emerged from a dark terrorist era, is key to supporting the security effort and curbing terrorist activities," he said.

Such participation could help "track down and prosecute female terrorists, monitor women who may have been influenced by ISIS ideology, and also combat social crime and domestic violence", Hanoun said.

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