British police paid £150,000 to train Brunei officers who impose anti-gay laws

The Sultan of Brunei, who introduced death by stoning for gay people earlier this month

British police were paid £150,000 to provide training to officers in Brunei who may now be involved in imposing anti-gay laws, The Guardian has revealed.

The College of Policing provided 235 days of training between 2012 and 2016 to officers in the country where gay sex can be punished with death by stoning.

Gifts exchanged by officers

As well as training, a series of gifts were exchanged between the British and Brunei officers. The items include a £510 Swiss-made men’s watch, Brunei baseball caps, a Brunei police stick, and Brunei police tie pins.

According to The Guardian the presents were given in December 2012. The watch was given by a superintendent in Brunei’s police force and was sold at auction to raise money for charitable causes.

Response from LGBT+ activists

Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell told The Guardian: “Even before the enactment of these new extremist sharia laws, Brunei was a quasi-dictatorship without international standards of democracy and human rights. It is shocking to think that some of these officers may now be involved in enforcing the death penalty for homosexuality, adultery and insulting the prophet Mohammad.”

The College of Policing’s deputy chief constable, Bernie O’Reilly told The Guardian that in light of “recent legislative changes in Brunei,” the force will not be continuing training in the country.

Brunei protests in the UK

Earlier this month hundreds protested outside the Brunei-owned Dorchester hotel in London. On April 6 campaigners surrounded the five-star hotel complex and raised rainbow flags to protest the death penalty for gay people.

Protest outside The Dorchester hotel in London opposes death penalty for gay sex introduced by Brunei.

Protestors outside The Dorchester hotel in London oppose death penalty for gay sex introduced by Brunei. (Ella Braidwood)

The demonstration was organised after high-profile celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, George Clooney, and Billie Jean King called for people to boycott the Brunei-owned Dorchester Collection hotel chain. The other hotels include The Beverly Hills hotel in La, Le Meurice in Paris and Hotel Eden in Rome.

The anti-LGBT country implemented the strict Islamic legal system of sharia law on April 3. Gay sex is punishable with death by stoning and lesbian sex carries a sentence of 40 whips of the cane or a one-year jail sentence.

Brunei has a population of 430,000 and is situated on the island of Borneo.