The police in Iraq operate under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior. The police and the Iraqi army (which operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Defence) are sometimes collectively referred to as the Iraqi Security Services. The Police and other forces controlled by the state excepting the army are sometimes referred to as Iraqi Internal Security Forces.
The uniformed local ‘Iraqi Police’ deal with general policing and response to incidents. The Highway Police and the Traffic Police have self evident roles. The ‘Iraqi National Police’ للشرطة الاتحادية (also known as the Iraqi Federal Police) are more heavily armed and fill the gap between the local police and Iraqi military. They deal with terrorist and other major incidents. The Rapid Reaction Force respond to serious incidents in particular hostage situations. The Border Enforcement Service guard the border, the Facilities Protection Service (an umbrella term for forces controlled by each ministry but receiving some training from the Ministry of the Interior) is charged with protecting Iraq’s strategic infrastructure, government buildings and cultural and educational assets and there are other smaller more specialised units. The Civil Defense Force tackles natural disasters and fires and educates citizens on issues including security, emergency control of the buildings and how to deal with explosives.
If the 200,000 ‘members’ of the Facilities Protection Service are included, the Internal Security Forces account for over 500,000 people.
The Ministry of Interior control the Iraqi Police, Iraqi National Police, the Border Enforcement Service and operate the following specialised investigation units:
- The National Investigative and Information Agency (NIIA) wakalat al-ma’alumat wa al-tahqiqat al-wataniya وكالة المعلومات و التحقيقات الوطنية
- The Inspector General’s Office (IG) dairat al-mufatish al-‘Am دائرة المفتش العام
- Internal Affairs (IA) al-sh’oun al-dakhliyi الشؤون الداخلية
The Iraqi National Intelligence Service was set up by CPA Order 69 (dated 1 April 2004) and it operates under a Charter appended to that CPA Order. Other secret intelligence services are believed to exist.
A Counter-terrorism Bureau is believed to exist. A law regulating its operation is proceeding through the Council of Representatives.
- Iraqi Ministry of Interior
- Iraqi National Police website in English and in Arabic
- Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT)
- International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP)
- USIP: Iraq’s Interior Ministry: The Key to Police Reform
- Fixing Iraq’s Internal Security Forces, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, November 2007