British police earned £3.3 million ($4.5 million) training security officers in countries with repressive regimes including Gulf states criticised for their lack of freedoms, the Guardian newspaper has reported.
The Home Office’s College of Policing provided “international leadership” training to police forces in 23 countries since it was setup in 2012.
According to the paper, 89 per cent of the college’s funding comes from countries who practice the death penalty, which the UK opposes.
“Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry is the college’s biggest leadership training client and has paid it more than £1.2m for 815 days’ training over the past six years,” the paper reported. According to campaign group Reprieve the Kingdom has executed 641 people since 2012.
The UK body has also trained officers in the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait which have all been known to violently quash dissent and freedom of speech and expression.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said:
The College of Policing appears to have made a substantial profit from a massive crackdown on dissent in the Gulf since the Arab Spring.
Ministers say this training will improve Gulf policing but, in reality, things have got worse as UK-trained bodies in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have increased their use of torture and the death penalty for juveniles and protesters.