Iraqi police officers march during a parade to mark 90 years since the foundation of the Police Force in the capital Baghdad on January 9, 2012.
A US government watchdog says Washington has cut funding for a police training program in Iraq due to a lack of participation by Iraqi police officers.
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) issued a report on Monday, saying the US State Department "is wisely reducing the Police Development Program (PDP)'s scope and size in the face of weak... support," AFP reported.
The report added that US diplomats squandered more than $200 million of US taxpayers’ money on the program, which Baghdad said was neither needed nor wanted. It also noted that in May 2012, a senior Iraqi deputy interior minister, Adnan al-Assadi, branded the training efforts as “useless.”
"He also indicated that Iraqi police officers had expressed their opinion that the training received to date was not beneficial," SIGIR said.
The watchdog also said that security concerns in Iraq have contributed to the program's shortcomings.
“Along with Iraqi disinterest, security concerns also affected the program. The embassy's Regional Security Office deemed it unsafe for advisers to travel to Iraqi-controlled facilities in Baghdad on a frequent basis," the report pointed out.
The PDP, touted as the single largest State Department program in the world, was a five-year project designed to help Iraqi police force to deal with security challenges when US troops left the country last December.
In mid-July, SIGIR published another report, titled Final Forensic Audit Report of Iraq Reconstruction Funds, saying that much of the $51 billion that US Congress had approved for Iraq reconstruction was wasted.
"The precise amount, lost to fraud and waste, can never be known," the report added.