FORMER Northern Ireland police chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan gained a lot of experience policing a divided society while in charge of a transforming public service. Now he’s going to share that valuable knowledge with the new Iraqi police force, though republicans will no doubt question the ex-Special Branch leader’s ability to weed out terrorist sympathisers – a major part of the task facing him in Basra.The Guardian reported:
[Defence Secretary] John Reid, acknowledged that there was a “problem” with the Iraqi police and that Sir Ronnie had been appointed to deal with it. Mr Reid told the BBC’s Politics Show that the issue would be tackled “head on”. “Ronnie Flanagan has been sent there to find out first of all what the situation on the ground truly is as objectively as we can. He will assess the objectiveness and neutrality of the police,” he said. “There’s a problem with the police in terms of split loyalties running from sympathy for the local people, right through to infiltration with the militia.”
However, Flanagan has also been “credited with building trust in a force that was accused of sectarian bias. British officials are hoping he can do the same in Iraq”.