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Dorset officer relishing Afghanistan role

A Dorset Police officer is working as part of the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan to help prevent corruption within the Afghan National Police.

Detective Inspector Guy Shimmons took up his one year secondment post in Afghanistan in November 2011 as an Anti-Corruption Mentor to the Ministry of Interior based at the EU Police headquarters in Kabul.

The European Union Police Mission’s work is focused on developing the professionalism, capacity and capability of the Afghan National Police.

Detective Inspector Shimmons has worked for Dorset Police for 16 years, having previously served with the Metropolitan Police for six years prior to that. For the last five years he has served as a detective inspector in various CID roles in Dorset.

Detective Inspector Shimmons said: “I live and work at the EU Police headquarters in Kabul. The HQ accommodates several hundred staff from all EU Police member countries.

“We work on site within purpose built offices but most of our work is done at sites within Kabul city.

“I work within the anti-corruption team. We are responsible for mentoring, training and advising senior officers within the Afghan National Police on matters of anti-corruption.

“The team consists of several other police officers from the UK and Romania, contracted civilian staff from the UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Romania and several Afghan national staff who provide language assistance.

“My primary role is the one-to-one mentoring of an Afghan National Police Colonel from one of the seven anti-corruption teams and the mentoring of one of the regional Inspector Generals based in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan.

“Our work requires us to travel throughout the country, including Helmand Province, to provide mentoring support and training to the regional anti-corruption teams.”

Detective Inspector Shimmons said that it is challenging living and working in such a different environment compared to the UK.

He said: “Life out here is what you make of it. The work is interesting and challenging but extremely rewarding.

“The living environment is certainly different. Living within a fortified compound an area the size of four football pitches protected by armed guards can be somewhat restrictive – especially when security concerns sometimes restrict our movement off the base for days at a time.

“The winter this year has been particularly harsh with night time temperatures dropping down below minus 16°C and daytime temperatures barely above freezing.

“In another month or so temperatures will increase into the mid 30’s and early 40’s, so the weather will present new challenges for us to deal with.

“I recently experienced the first major sand storm of the year, the airport was closed and visibility was reduced to around 100 meters, but daily business continued.

“Thankfully I'll be home for Easter to enjoy the peace and quiet of Dorset and some quality time with my family, before it all starts again two weeks later.”

DI Shimmons at the EU Police headquarters in Kabul