Iraq role for former Northern Ireland police chief

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Sir Ronnie Flanagan, the former Northern Ireland police chief, has been appointed to review the new Iraqi police force amid warnings that it has been infiltrated by anti-government insurgents.

John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, confirmed yesterday that Sir Ronnie had been asked to report on the capabilities of the new force in British-controlled southern Iraq.

He warned that the police suffered "split loyalties" and infiltration by militias, but vowed that rogue elements in the Iraqi police would be removed.

The move follows the storming by British troops of a police station in Basra to free two undercover SAS soldiers arrested by Iraqi police in September.

Mr Reid told The Politics Show on BBC1: "There's a problem with the police in terms of split loyalties running from sympathy for the local people, right through to infiltration with the militia.

"That's why we are now redoubling our efforts to make sure that these people are rooted out.

But he added: "It isn't to say that all the police are like that. Many of them are courageous. Many have given their life in the new Iraq, but some of them are rogues and they've obviously got to be taken out."