Bounty on British policeman in Iraq

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  • Published 30.12.03

Baghdad, Nov. 30: A price has been put on the head of the senior British policeman seconded to supervise the restoration of law and order in Iraq by loyalists of Saddam Hussein.

Douglas Brand, a South Yorkshire assistant chief constable in charge of retraining Iraqi police, has discovered that former members of the deposed dictator’s regime have issued a contract to “do him harm”.

Brand, 52, said that the news was broken to him by the mayor of an Iraqi city in the so-called “Sunni Triangle” north-west of Baghdad during a recent visit to his offices at the coalition headquarters in the Iraqi capital.

“The first thing the mayor said was, ‘I know who you are. There are people who want to harm you’. I asked him what he meant and he said, ‘People will be paid money to do so’. I wasn’t quite sure if he was warning me or threatening me.”

Brand said that such threats were becoming a daily hazard for senior coalition staff and the Iraqis who work with them. Estimates of the going rate for a successful “hit” are thought to be between $5,000 and $10,000 (£2,900-£5,800). Brand, who is based in Sheffield but moved to Baghdad in July, said that 15 senior Iraqi policemen had been assassinated since he began work.

He said: “I did say to the police chief in Baghdad, ‘The more successful you become, the more vulnerable you become. Are you up for that?’ He said yes, but within two weeks we had to move him to a different house after he was threatened.”

Yet Brand, who travels with a team of four ex-SAS men as minders, insisted the capital’s rampant crime rates were falling. “If I was not here as a policeman, I would not have a problem with walking the streets,” he said.

Brand may have been singled out by insurgents because the high-profile nature of his job means that his face regularly appears in Iraqi newspapers. At 6 feet 9 inches tall — Brand is nicknamed “The Tower of London” — he is a distinctive figure.