QATARI bobbies on the beat will be patrolling Leigh streets as part of a training programme as the Gulf state gears up to host a football World Cup.
Greater Manchester Police has secured a lucrative contract to educate student officers in neighbourhood policing in a deal that will start next year.
Around 100 Qatari officers are due to take part in the programme, which will see a proportion of the cohort “buddied” up with members of Wigan and Leigh divisions for a six week stint in 2016.
Police chiefs in Qatar are understood to have brokered the deal to train their officers in UK policing techniques and hone their English language skills with an unprecedented influx of visitors expected to flood the country for the 2022 World Cup.
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jim Battle told the Observer: “The Qatar training programme focuses on neighbourhood policing, drawing on the good examples in the Wigan and Leigh Division. This programme is designed to spread the message of what good policing is, shares good practice with others and demonstrates why GMP represents the best of policing, not just in the UK, but across the world.”
Mr Battle said GMP has already established similar training links with forces in the US and Chile.
And he added that consideration was given to Qatar’s questionable record on human rights before signing the agreement.
The country has faced criticism for abuses of migrant workers’ rights and its penal code, which includes flogging as a punishment for certain offences.
Mr Battle said: “Before signing the contract Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Tony Lloyd carefully considered issues regarding ethical policing and human rights – core values within GMP. This training programme allows GMP to share these values with others.”
As part of the agreement, GMP has been paid £200k for setting up the training programme and will receive a further £887 per student per week.
Contract documents submitted to the commissioner’s office add that any disciplinary issues relating to the students will be dealt with through the UK legal system.
And the documents add that all students will have taken part in some English studies at Manchester Metropolitan University prior to secondment with GMP.
There is also a termination clause “in the event of potential damage to reputation or public confidence” as a result of the training programme.
The shadowing programme used by the students will also allow them to look at policing techniques and how to deal with “newly invented crimes” (crime types that are new to Qatar), according to the agreement.
Qatar being awarded the 2022 flagship football tournament has been viewed as a hugely controversial decision given its associated cost, unsuitable climate during the summer and widespread corruption claims.
Assistant chief constable Zoe Sheard said: “The Qatari police service has expressed a commitment to move its style of policing away from its current military-style model to one that is more community focused and embraces the principles of the British policing model. They intend to make significant progress in this regard in advance of hosting the World Cup in 2022.
“Given the experience we have in neighbourhood policing, criminal investigation and policing significant events and sporting fixtures, Qatar have identified GMP as a source of good practice.”