Huddersfield University Libya police training criticised

A university has been condemned by a police group for training Libyan police officers and scores of civilians in forensic science.

However Huddersfield University's deputy vice-chancellor, Prof Peter Slee, said there was nothing unusual about the studies.

He said there were 103 Libyan students, including a dozen officers.

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, described their presence as "extraordinary".

Mr Slee said the students on the course were enhancing their skills and knowledge as part of an ongoing programme.

He said: "We do have 103 Libyan students studying with us on a Master of Science degree.

"Among their number there are 12 members of the civilian police force, the equivalent to policemen and women in any country.

"Every single one of these students is a science graduate who is upgrading their skills in forensic science as part of a wider contract."

Mr Slee said that many of the students were "not necessarily connected to the Libyan police force".

"Like every student from overseas who is admitted to the UK, the UK authorities check them out and all of these students have got visas that have been cleared by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

"They are in the country studying as any other student would be."

Mr Slee said of 2,500 students from Libya in the UK, only 103 were in Huddersfield.

"They are from a country which is in terrible turmoil at the moment and the events that we see over there on the television every day are truly distressing."

He said the university had worked with the FCO to ensure the students could complete their studies.

As part of their course the students will also receive training from a private forensics company.

But Mr McKeever said that officers were still "waiting for justice" following the death of Pc Yvonne Fletcher 27 years ago.

Pc Fletcher, originally of Semley, near Shaftesbury, was shot as she policed a demonstration at the Libyan embassy in central London in 1984.

No arrests have been made in connection with her killing. It was followed by an 11-day siege at the embassy, which led to embassy staff being allowed to leave the UK under diplomatic immunity laws.

Mr McKeever said: "It shows a lack of respect to police officers in this country that we're assisting in the training of police officers who'll be doing what, we have no idea, when they return to Libya."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites