Svedberg, who’s been on three other similar overseas missions, was selected when the Ministry for Foreign Affairs decided that Sweden should assist with the training of Iraq’s new police force. Since January, he and his nine colleagues have been based in a desert hangar outside Amman.
The Swedish team put about 4,000 recruits through an eight week course. “We’ve taught them how to search cars for weapons, drugs and explosives. They’ll be working a lot at check-points,” explained Svedberg.
He spotted one or two cultural differences during his tour of duty.
“They have a very low security awareness,” he continued worryingly. “Many of them think everything’s God’s will. If they’re blown up because they missed a device in a car, it’s put down to God’s will. Which they can’t do anything about.”
Being a good Swede, Svedberg educated his charges in the advantages of having female police officers. “I asked them, ‘Who else is going to search your wife at a road block?'” he said cheekily. Comedy highlights apparently included watching the hapless recruits attempting to drive.
Svedberg’s day job is as a local officer in the suburbs of Kortedala and Bergsjön, two of Gothenburg’s most diverse communities, and he thinks his experiences in Jordan will come in handy. “I’ve got a deeper insight into how people from the Middle East think,” he commented.