Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The General Presidency of the Saudi Arabian Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice [CPVPV], in a report presented before the Shura Council yesterday, acknowledged that its operations were down 20 percent from last year. This was as a result of the CPVPV’s fear of the consequences of negative media reports on its operations.
This report revealed that the CPVPV recorded 55,000 cases during the past year, which represents a 20 percent decrease from the number of cases recorded by the CPVPV during the previous year.
CPVPV officials justified the decrease in the number of recorded cases as being due to “fear of negative media portrayal.” This statement was met with surprise by Shura Council member Dr. Abdullah al-Zufairi, whilst Shura Council member Major General Abdullah al-Saadoun defended the media, saying that it was only doing its duty.
The report revealed that the CPVPV recorded 16,650 cases had against Saudi citizens, and 39,301 cases against non-Saudi citizens.
It is also worth noting that the number of offenses relating to what the CPVP described as “[religious] belief and worship issues” rose with regards to CPVPV cases against Saudi citizens. The report stated that of the 16,650 cases recorded by the CPVPV against Saudi citizens in that year, 10,000 cases related to “belief and worship issues.” The report also revealed that cases relating to “belief and worship issues” are on the increase in the Mecca and Riyadh regions.
The report also obligated CPVPV field members to wear an “official uniform” in order for the CPVPV to distance itself from past controversies. Shura Council member Moussa al-Selim stressed the importance of CPVPV members wearing an official uniform in order to improve the respectability of the CPVPV as well as to ensure that nobody can impersonate a CPVPV officer.
Shura Council member Moussa al-Selim also called on CPVPV to display their identification [as members of the CPVPV] when out in the field at all times, which is something that not all CPVPV officers currently practice. CPVPV officers are usually present throughout Saudi Arabia’s shopping centers, to monitor the general situation.
Major General Abdullah al-Saadoun utilized this opportunity – the presentation of the CPVPV report to the Shura Council – to call for youths to be allowed to visit shopping centers, and for procedures to regulate this issue. Youths are currently not allowed to enter shopping centers in Saudi Arabia alone but must be with the family unit. Shura Council member Major General Abdullah al-Saadoun called for youths to be allowed to enter shopping centers alone as they make up the largest component of society, and their not being permitted to enter such shopping centers alone could adversely affect their psychology.
The CPVPV previously began giving members orientation and intensive training courses in how to deal with the pressures of work which include being physically attacked during the course of their duties. A CPVPV source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said that CPVPV members suffer from “work pressures” as a result of the increase in work hours, especially during special seasons such as the summer holiday season, examination season, and during the holy month of Ramadan and other religious holidays such as Eid. All of which necessitate training on how to deal with these pressures in an appropriate manner.