BAGHDAD, Aug. 4, 2009 – The Iraqi National Police has changed its name to the Federal Police.

The name change, which took effect Aug. 1, “goes side by side with the objectives of the national unity government,” a police spokesman said.

Iraqi Lt. Col Mohammed Al Baydani said the Federal Police plans to set up a brigade headquarters in every province, including the self-ruled Kurdistan region, over the next two years.

The Federal Police’s role is to protect Iraqi citizens, he said. In many areas of Baghdad, Basra, Mosul and Amara, the National Police already have proven their ability to restore peace and order.

Over the past three years, the former National Police nearly doubled in size to 42,000 members. Under the command of Iraqi Lt. Gen. Hussain Al-Awadi, the police force has raised its training to a higher standard of professionalism. All brigades have completed advanced individual training courses, and more than 5,700 officers have completed the specialized Carabinieri training taught by the Italian police and NATO forces.

Al-Awadi also has improved the ethnic and religious diversity in the Federal Police ranks and implemented a police code of ethics, officials said.

Today, the Federal Police comprises four divisions and 17 brigades, including a mechanized and sustainment brigade, and the Al-Askari Brigade that is dedicated to providing security for the Al-Askari mosque in Samarra during its reconstruction.

The organization’s history dates to Aug. 15, 2004, when it was formed as the Special Police to provide a national rapid-response capability to counter armed insurgency and large-scale civil disobedience and riots. The name was changed to National Police on March 30, 2006.

Since June 30, the Federal Police have performed another role — providing escort duty for U.S. military convoys through the cities of Iraq.

“Forces from the Iraqi Federal Police have accompanied U.S. convoys in the streets of Baghdad to support the American Army mission to move forces to different locations,” a federal policeman said. The escort operation is in accordance with the U.S.-Iraq security agreement, and is a demonstration of Iraqis’ abilities to provide security and execute their responsibilities under the agreement.

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BAGHDAD, Aug. 4, 2009 – The Iraqi National Police has changed its name to…