Manchester Metropolitan University under fire for new deal to train Qatari police officers


Manchester Metropolitan University is facing criticism over its plans to provide training to the Qatari Police Force in the country’s new Police College.

They will be working with the National College of Policing and the Greater Manchester Police Force to deliver a four-year police science degree, during which students will learn English and will benefit from research into policing science carried out in the UK.

However, the plans have come under fire from the local branch of the University and College Union, who have labelled them “blatant hypocrisy”, questioning the university’s decision to sign the memorandum at the same time as promoting LGBT equality through LGBT history month earlier this year.

Male homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, with punishments including imprisonment, flogging, deportation and death. In their report on the country’s human rights record in 2012, Amnesty International stated that “at least six men and women, all foreign nationals, were sentenced to floggings of either 40 or 100 lashes for offences related to alcohol consumption or “illicit sexual relations”.

The report also drew attention to abuses of freedom of expression, with at least two men arrested for “criticising the government”. One of the men was allegedly tortured.

The university’s department of Humanities, Languages, and Social Sciences will be involved in delivering the training after a ‘memorandum of understanding’ was signed with Qatar. The National College of Policing will provide training in areas such as traffic management, criminal investigation, and counter terrorism, but stresses that public order or firearms training will not be on the agenda.

The local UCU branch has pledged to support any member of staff who does not wish to be involved in the training, stating that: “Staff in the affected departments are angry at being called on to work with organisations which enforce discriminatory laws, and which are contributing to the human rights abuses in Qatar identified by Amnesty International”.

Although an MMU spokesperson has emphasized that no members of staff will be required to deliver training if they do not wish to do so, UCU expressed concern that Qatari authorities “will make use of this partnership to give political legitimacy to their regime”.

The Qatari regime has recently been implicated in the mistreatment of migrant workers in the run up to the world cup in 2022. Recent reports suggest that over 1,000 workers have died during construction work, while thousands of others are being forced to work in scorching heat and live in squalid conditions. Trade unions are banned and workers are unable to leave their jobs or the country without permission from their employer.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt echoed the concerns of the local branch, advising the university not to lose sight of their “important responsibilities when it comes to academic freedoms” as they “travel the world looking for collaborations”.

“We would like to know how a university justifies a partnership such as this one and what sort of procedures it went through before deciding it was appropriate,” she added.

An MMU spokesperson has defended the plans, which they say will allow students in the Qatari Police College to “benefit from the wealth of knowledge in the UK”.

“All our work is designed to improve and positively influence policing internationally,” they said.

A College of Policing spokesman maintained that the proposed training would not reinforce alleged human rights abuses, stating that “every training module incorporates human rights compliance and its importance to the principles of democratic and legitimate policing”.

They insisted that plans had been through rigorous checks to ensure that it did not contravene the government’s objectives abroad: "Training of overseas law enforcement officers is overseen by the cross-governmental International Policing Assistance Board, which includes representatives from the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This body reviews training initiatives to ensure that they support UK priorities and that human rights are properly considered in each case."

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine