Kent Policeman Heads To Afghanistan

One of Kent Police’s critical incident specialists is hanging up his force boots for a year and replacing them with desert wellies.

Chief Inspector Martin Cunningham is flying to Afghanistan in March to train senior Afghan police and support staff in command, control and communication.

As Senior Training Course Developer/Trainer at the new Afghan National Police Staff College, CI Cunningham will be based in the capital, Kabul.

He’ll design, manage and deliver bespoke training products, relating to communications and leadership, to help Afghan National Police Commanders better handle major incidents, emergencies and firearms operations.

Hear our interview with CI Cunningham

Much like his work as a senior officer within Kent Police, CI Cunningham ultimately seeks to preserve life, and enhance quality of life, for those who visit, work and live in the local community.

His secondment is to the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) and is managed through the UK Government’s Stabilisation Unit - a tripartite body that includes the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department for International Development.

The Unit draws together expertise in diplomacy, defence and development to help fragile and conflict affected countries.

With more than 20 years experience in both military and civil policing Chief Inspector Cunningham brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the newly created position. He said: “This is a once in a lifetime experience and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a totally new post, so there’s a lot of pressure and scrutiny, but it’s an exciting opportunity to put my stamp on something unique and historic.

“I’m enthusiastic about passing my knowledge and skills onto others and I thrive when working in challenging roles and environments. I know I can’t change the world but I like to think that I can make a positive difference in some small way and in so doing I hope to change the lives of some people for the better.

“I have no doubt that I’ll learn a great deal both personally and professionally and bring back news skills that I can apply to my policing work when I eventually return to Kent Police.

“Importantly, this international mission should benefit Kent Police, and therefore the people of Kent, in many and various ways. For instance, stopping crime at source, particularly organised crime, is a tangible benefit of overseas missions and this should enable me to increase my awareness and make contacts which will be useful on my return to the UK.”  

CI Cunningham will be working in a hostile environment. Not only is it a war zone but Afghanistan experiences a harsh climate, he’ll need to communicate via translators and integrate into a tribal culture.