Hundreds of Saudi police officers trained in Britain aiding regime to commit torture

Its agreements with foreign governments have previously been criticised by the Home Affairs Select Committee over the “very brand of British policing that the College is trying to promote.”A college spokesman said: “The College works with countries around the world and responds to the needs of our partners to build relationships and improve policing at home and abroad. Respect for human rights and dignity is interwoven into programmes.” A source with knowledge of the Saudi legal system said the use of torture had shown no sign of abating. “The scale of international law violations is mind-boggling,” he said. “There is no evidence that the British government imposes any kind of human rights-based conditions on the Saudi government for receiving this training.” The College of Policing insisted “respect for human rights and dignity is interwoven into programmes”.It is unclear how much Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry paid for the training but between 2012 and 2018 it gave the college more than £1.4 million for a separate leadership programme. Hundreds of Saudi police officers were trained in Britain last year, despite claims the skills they acquire could help the regime commit torture, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.The College of Policing, which sets the standards for UK police forces, has increased its work with a desert kingdom that faces global condemnation for alleged state-sponsored brutality.The Telegraph investigation has found 268 Saudi police officers attended British training sessions between January and October last year. The figure dwarfs the number sent by other countries at the same time and comes as the regime faces accusations it arrested and tortured children, including some who were sentenced to death, according to a human rights charity.Execution is still practised in the Gulf state, with beheading, stoning and crucifixion meted out for offences as obscure as witchcraft.Maya Foa, of Reprieve, said: “The College of Policing previously trained Saudi police in techniques that, by the college’s own admission, risked being used to identify individuals for torture. The UK Government should not provide assistance that implicates the UK in torture and the death penalty.”The precise nature of the training remains secret as the college refused to disclose details requested under Freedom of Information laws. Previous evidence implies it could include courses on tackling cybercrime, digital forensic techniques and mobile phone analysis. Emily Thornberry said the relationship with Saudi Arabia would only serve to embolden it to commit further abuses Reprieve said there had been cases where content from social media accounts and mobile phones was used as evidence to prosecute children, who were later sentenced to death. There is no evidence that the college’s training was used in these cases but the charity was concerned there was no safeguard to ensure Saudi forces did not use it to enforce its harsh anti-cybercrime laws. Emily Thornberry said the relationship with Saudi Arabia would only serve to embolden it to commit further abusesCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, accused authorities of emboldening Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman by continuing with the programme.She said: “With concerns mounting by the day about human rights abuses by the Saudi authorities at home and overseas, and their increasing criminalisation of individuals simply for practising their religion or protesting their rights, it beggars belief that the government has decided providing this support is compatible with British values, which is the test they are supposed to apply before authorising this training.“What signal does it send to Saudi Arabia when we don’t just ignore their violations of human rights, but actively offer to train hundreds more of their security personnel?“No wonder Crown Prince Bin Salman believes he can act with total impunity.” read more