CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – IRAQI POLICE – 1 February 2007

[The Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne): There is no doubt that there has been infiltration of the police force by militia elements in the South-East of Iraq. That is why an important part of Operation Sinbad, as we moved across the city, was to concentrate on attempting to clear out those elements police station by police station. Only two days ago, I spoke at some length to the head of the police training team, an assistant chief constable by the name of Dick Barton. [Laughter.] I do not find anything amusing in that. It is the man's name, and he does a sterling job.]

Dr Julian Lewis: Is he a special agent?

[Des Browne: Mr Barton certainly has special talents. I have engaged with him on my visits, and I now have significant confidence in his assessment. He made an interesting observation to me about – this will be counter-intuitive to most Members – the value of the involvement of one lawyer in improving the rule of law in Basra. Police officers probably do not do this often, but he was effusive in his compliments for the contribution that that lawyer had made in putting backbone into the judicial and prosecution processes. ...]