BAQUBAH, Iraq – The enemy in Iraq has shown no qualms about using females to conduct attacks. In Diyala province alone there have been four female suicide bomb attacks since late November.
To help combat this threat, military policewomen with the 202nd Military Police Company conducted search-technique training with Iraqi policewomen, Feb. 16, at the Iraqi police headquarters in Baqubah, Iraq.
"One of the biggest issues we face is the cultural difference between the women here and the women in the States," explained Capt. Mary Newell, 202nd commander. "It is inappropriate for a male to search a female, or for a male to ask a female to lift her clothing up to look for weapons. In Baqubah, female suicide bombers are a new tactic of choice, and they have been targeting police and emergency response teams. Having female IPs to do the searches will help the situation and it also maintains the dignity of the females being searched."
The MPs taught their fellow female law enforcement agents how to properly search a female to find weapons or explosives, how to properly use a search wand, and how to react if something is found.
"I learned a lot from the training," said Sgt. Nahida Latif Aziz, a three-year IP veteran, through a translator. "I learned how to use the wand and how to put someone against the wall. I've never put someone on the ground and searched them before. We had never done that before in our training."
Col. Ali Sadon, Diyala director of IP training, said the Diyala IP chief wants to hire more females.
"We want to have female IPs at all the government buildings in Diyala," he said through a translator. "We use them to investigate houses where the only residents are female. We also use the female IPs to search females because the men cannot do those searches. They are also valuable at the prisons for when females come to visit their husbands and sons who have been detained. It's a good step in the right direction to train the IP females to help us."
One of the issues brought up during the training was that the female IPs do not have weapons.
"We should have weapons just like the men," Aziz said.
Sadon responded by noting that the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior recently reversed a decision made earlier this year that female IPs were not allowed to carry weapons, and the Diyala IP females will soon be issued weapons.
Throughout Iraq, there are approximately 78,000 IPs, around 1,000 of which are female. In Diyala province, there are approximately 17,500 IPs, of which 30 are female.
This work, MPs train female IPs on search techniques, by SSG Russell Bassett, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.