Amnesty International today called for a rigorous review of PSNI training of overseas police forces in light of the killings of protestors by Libyan and Bahraini police.
The PSNI and members of other UK police forces have been involved in training Libyan and Bahraini police in such areas as counter-terrorism work.
The human rights organisation said that significant questions must be raised around what human rights criteria and standards, if any, were applied to the training given by the police service, especially given both Libya and Bahrain's record on crushing internal dissent and public protest.
In recent days Libyan and Bahraini police and security forces have used brutal methods to crush dissent and have been implicated by Amnesty International in the killing of hundreds of protestors. Amnesty International has insisted that international human rights standards and practice should be incorporated into any training delivered by the PSNI and other UK police forces.
Amnesty International Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:
"The PSNI has been involved in delivering training to security forces in Libya, Bahrain and other countries with atrocious human rights records.
"Given events in those countries, with the deaths of perhaps hundreds of innocent protestors at the hands of security forces, it looks as if the government's risk-assessment system isn't working. We need much tighter checks when training is being given to police forces with a history of human rights abuses.
"We call on the Chief Constable and the Northern Ireland Policing Board to look closely at recent events in Libya, Bahrain and other countries where they have helped to train the security forces, to ensure that much-needed lessons are learnt.
"A rigorous human rights assessment must be made before any future agreement to offer training to an overseas police force. In addition, the PSNI should carry out follow-up evaluation to ensure that any training offered results in an improvement in human rights and policing in that country.
"The Northern Ireland Policing Board should ensure that such criteria and assessments are applied to all such overseas training. In addition, we call for greater transparency around the delivery of such training, and ask that the Chief Constable openly declares such training in his Annual Report."
Amnesty supporters are currently calling on the UK government to tighten export controls on UK military, security and policing equipment and support a rigorous Arms Treaty in forthcoming negotiations; see: amn.st/libyaarms