MILITARY policeman Ian Houghton has been training officers in Afghanistan.
The Afghan National Police have benefited from the experience of PC Houghton, who is part of a team teaching basic policing skills to new recruits in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province.
The 42-year-old has been in the Ministry of Defence Police for three years and last September swapped his duties patrolling the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire, for the war-torn country’s south-west police training centre.
He is now coming to the end of his tour but said he was deeply impressed by the dedication of the officers he trained and worked with.
‘I have found the bravery of Afghan national police officers astonishing,’ he said.
‘They balance “God’s will” with professionalism, their culture and their way of life.
‘They are committed both to the job they’re training to do and to the security of Afghanistan.’
PC Houghton previously spent 10 years as a police officer with Hampshire Constabulary before joining the MoD police.
He is one of 19 officers deployed to Afghanistan, and for eight weeks they worked alongside Afghan instructors to try to reinforce the recruits’ training.
He said: ‘I work with men aged between 18 and 50 years old, many of whom have never had any formal education.
‘We use practical ways, such as role play, to teach them the skills they will need: from baton-handling, handcuff use, arrest procedures and proportional use of force, to basic law about theft, robbery and fraud as well as human rights, ethics and crime scene management.’
In a few weeks time, PC Houghton will be returning to the UK and going back to his old job.
He added: ‘Obviously it has been hard at times to be away from the UK and I’m looking forward to going back to some home comforts.
‘Establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan is obviously key to the country’s future stability, and with my training and police skills, I knew I had something to offer.
‘This has been a fantastic opportunity and one which I have really enjoyed.’