A Sussex police officer is teaching the principles of neighbourhood policing in a war zone.

Chief Inspector Ed Henriet is in Afghanistan training the leaders of the country’s police force as they prepare to take responsibility for the streets of their towns and cities.

He is half way through his year in Kabul, where he is part of the European Union's police mission in Afghanistan, seconded through the British Foreign Office's “stabilisation unit” .

Ch Insp Henriet said the fundamental principles of policing are the same everywhere in the world.

He said: “When we go into the classroom the outlook of a police officer is remarkably similar.

“The police come to work to protect people, uphold the law and build trust and confidence in the community, which is exactly the same as when I was a neighbourhood inspector at Haywards Heath and chief inspector at Gatwick.”

Ch Insp Henriet communicates through interpreters, training senior officers in professional standards.

After Sussex, Kabul was a culture shock, with the daily risks of suicide bombings and the dispensing of justice rooted in Sharia law.

In September the US embassy, next door to the secure compound where Ch Insp Henriet lives, was bombed. Political assassinations have also affected day-to-day life.

But Ch Insp Henriet has found his stereotypes about Afghanistan, particularly about the lives of women, were quickly challenged.

He said: “Women do play an active role in the police, they don’t just wear head-to-toe burk-has.

"There are sergeant-rank female officers aspiring to be officers. If there is a female lieutenant the non-commissioned officers support it. They respect the rank first.”

For more information about the Foreign Office's stabilisation unit visit www.stabilisationunit.gov.uk.

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