Security

Iraq reinstates former members of Ninawa police

By Khalid al-Taie

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Members of the Ninawa local police dispose of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' left behind as they were fleeing the battles against Iraqi forces. [Photo from the Facebook page of Ninawa Police]

The Iraqi government has started reinstating former members of the Ninawa police who dropped out of service after the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) overran the province in June 2014.

The decision is expected to benefit more than 13,000 members of the police force who were previously dismissed after they were considered missing from service, officials told Diyaruna.

Many security personnel have expressed their desire to return to duty and serve their country, said Iraqi MP for Ninawa province Mahasen Hamdoun.

"Most of these people lost their homes and were displaced as a result of terrorism and have recently managed to return after their areas were liberated," she told Diyaruna.

Hamdoun said she met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi three months ago to convey to him the desire of these police personnel to resume work.

The Prime Minister "was responsive to the request", she said, noting that several meetings with Ministry of Interior officials ensued after which it was agreed to reinstate the dismissed personnel.

"In total, there are 13,430 former local police force members as well as members of the civil defence and the traffic police" that were dismissed, she said.

The Ministry of Interior has started the process of verifying their names and that there are no security violations recorded against them, Hamdoun said.

It is important "to make sure that no reinstated member has ties to any terrorist group or has committed crimes of any sort so as to prevent a future security breach", she added.

More police personnel needed

Since eastern Mosul was declared free of ISIS earlier this year, the Ninawa police have reopened 12 police stations and directorates in the province. Local police patrol cars, with their distinctive green colour, were once again circulating in the streets of liberated areas.

Reinstating police personnel will consolidate security and stability in the province, said provincial council security committee chairman Mohammed Ibrahim.

"There are currently some 12,000 members of the Ninawa police force, but this number is not enough to cover all security operations in our province," he told Diyaruna.

"With the imminent liberation of the entire city of Mosul, there will be a need to recruit more security personnel to take control of the liberated areas and reinforce stability in them," he added.

The dismissed personnel have extensive experience "not only when it comes to security matters and fighting crime, but also on the administrative side such as issuing identity documents and filing police reports", Ibrahim said.

Security of liberated areas 'top priority'

Reopening police stations and reinstating the police personnel sends "a comforting message to civilians that the security of their areas is a top government priority", Basma Basim, head of the Mosul district council, told Diyaruna.

Counter-Terrorism Service forces, the army and the federal police have all been in charge of protecting the liberated areas of Mosul, she said.

"However, we now have to increase the numbers of the local police force and provide them with military vehicles and equipment so they can perform their duties after the liberating forces withdraw," she added.

The Ninawa police is collaborating with the residents to capture terrorists who have been hiding in the city, Basim said.

"Everyone is working today to maintain the victory that has been achieved," she said.

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