By Dion Caputi
RCMP officials are working on a plan that could improve international cooperation.
According to a report by the National Post, the Mounties are negotiating with Saudi Arabian police to offer training in “investigative techniques.”
The RCMP’s deputy commissioner Mike Cabana, told the newspaper that talks are focused on giving the Saudi police training in evidence collection and software tools for major case management.
This proposed instruction is not unprecedented, as RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox said the Mounties receive an abundance of training requests, also noting that officers from both the Middle East have received teaching at the Canadian Police College on investigative techniques.
Michael Juneau-Katsuya, a former senior manager and intelligence officer at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told the Post that prior to the 2008 Olympics, the RCMP trained Chinese police in riot-control.
Despite the potential for diplomatic progress, the situation has drawn a fair amount of skepticism.
Toby Jones, a professor of Middle East history at Rutgers University, told the Post that barring a transformation, the RCMP education may not be effective.
“Unless they’re going in to revolutionize Saudi police, it’s hard to imagine they’ll do anything good,” said Jones. “The Saudis have a terrible record on human rights and police brutality.”
Additionally, Eric Goldstein, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, released a statement on Saudi Arabia’s “sweeping injustices.” The Saudis bully-like tactics have driven some to stimulate the cause for increased freedoms, not discourage it.
“The Saudi government has gone to considerable lengths to punish, intimidate, and harass those who express opinions that deviate from the official line,” said Goldstein. “These efforts have fueled rather than silenced the growing domestic calls for greater freedoms.”
Pending approval, the deal would be the first act of the police college providing training within the Middle East, said Cox.
Ultimately, the agreement would further tighten a growing relationship between Canada and oil-rich Saudi Arabia.