If the two British soldiers had a mission requires working undercover, can't the British commanders in Basra inform the Iraqi police commanders to coordinate their work. A joint operation room is vital to avoid such situation.
The Iraqi police force in Basra, recruited & trained by the British, is not trustworthy by the British themselves. It seems that something went wrong in choosing, organizing & training the cadets.
The British's conduct to retrieve the two soldiers reflects a predisposition to violate law & order if it oppose their interests. It is obvious through storming the jail causing dozens of Iraqi prisoners to flee in the confusion. Mr. John Reid, the British defense secretary, said
"We remain committed to helping the Iraqi government for as long as they judge that a coalition presence is necessary to provide security."
An environment of threat, congestion, and tension makes people totally alerted & suspect every body. And amid such environment, two Britons put on Arab headdress touring the city using a civil car expecting that no one would notice them. Moreover, they shot policemen:
"The soldiers, who were said to have been wearing Arab headdress, were accused of firing at Iraqi police when stopped at a road block."
"…suggest that British commanders on the spot still cannot trust the Iraqis they trained - not just the police, but the judges as well." And "The use of force, rather than waiting for the men to go before an Iraqi court, could also undermine the US and British attempts to build up the authority of and respect for the Iraqi courts and police."
"…the Badr brigades are the more disciplined fighting force among the Iraqis. In theory, they were supposed to have disbanded. In reality, like Mr Sadr's people, they have infiltrated the police force. Although the police force is nominally British-trained, the British have had to stand aside as this infiltration has taken place. The commander of the Basra force admitted in a Guardian interview in May that he only controlled 25% of this force."
"The defence secretary, John Reid, said the army had been "absolutely right" to break into Basra's Jamiat jail to help free the British soldiers, who were later found in the custody of militia forces."
"…security sector reform is failing the very people it is intended to serve: average Iraqis who simply want to go about their lives."
"Recruited from the same population of undereducated, underemployed men who swell these organizations' ranks, many of Basra's rank-and-file police officers maintain dual loyalties to mosque and state."
"When I asked British troops if the security sector reform strategy included measures to encourage cadets to identify with the national government rather than their neighborhood mosque, I received polite shrugs: not our job, mate."
"The fact that the British are in effect strengthening the hand of Shiite organizations is not lost on Basra's residents."
"In my time with them (the British), not once did I see an instructor explain such basics of democracy as the politically neutral role of the police in a civil society. Nor did I see anyone question the alarming number of religious posters on the walls of Basran police stations."
"I think it has got to be made clear to the interim government that this state of affairs is completely incompatible with the kind of peaceful, stable, sustainable Iraq we want to see, and they say they want to see, and these militias must be confronted".
"The government came under pressure to change course when Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, called on coalition forces to attack the independent militias in the country. Mr Howard said the current strategy was not working but he opposed setting a date for withdrawal."