Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Saudi Religious Police Complain of Physical Abuse | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice [CPVPV] has subjected its 175 field agents in Jeddah for orientation and intensive training courses in how to deal with work pressures, which include physical attacks made against them.

A CPVPV official in Jeddah, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that members of the CPVPV had been subject to physical assault and abuse, and therefore the CPVPV have started training its members in methods of dealing with these pressures. The official indicated that “the nature of the CPVPV’s work has resulted in physical assault and abuse being directed against its field agents, which in some cases become criminal cases and are transferred to the concerned authorities, although this occurs only rarely.”

The official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that it is very difficult to scrutinize the cases of abuse made against members of the CPVPV by members of society, especially since the nature of the CPVPV’s work makes its members vulnerable to this [abuse]. Criminal cases are brought fourth in the case of physical attack, but these were hard to monitor as they are not included in statistical reports as they occur rarely. He added that the CPVPV has the power to arrest any suspects, but that their role ends once they hand the suspect over to the authorities.

According to the official, the 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.

In view of this, 21 members of the CPVPV in Jeddah will undertake a training course next week on how to deal with the pressures of work. This course is the second of its kind, the first was held two weeks ago for all members of the CPVPV.

The course dealt with several issues including; the feelings caused by pressure at work, the forms that this pressure takes, the negative and positive impacts [of this pressure], and the employee’s response to them.

The course also outlines pressure management techniques, as well as presentations of models and workshops on how to deal with pressure, in addition to practical [stress] trials which emphasize scientific concepts and processes of how to deal with work-related pressure that CPVPV members may face in the field. Such pressure, in addition to the nature of the cases that the CPVPV tackles, includes dealing with members of different social classes.

A member of the CPVPV speaking anonymously informed Asharq Al-Awsat that work pressures occasionally negatively affect a CPVPV agent’s performance in the field.

The CPVPV member added that work pressures sometimes affect the manner in which CPVPV agents deal with members of society, and that ineffectiveness and negative performance are the most prominent of these pressures, adding that mistreatment of CPVPV members substantially affects the progress of work.

He added that the media agencies that deliberately highlight the CPVPV in a negative manner also constitute one of the pressures facing members of the CPVPV, as negative media portrayal leaves them open to attack by members of the community.

For his part, Director of the Jeddah-branch of the CPVPV, Ali Bin Mohamed Al Hayan, stated that the course on Strategies to Deal with Work Pressure is the fourth such course to take place since the beginning of the year. He added that this course is one of a serious of training courses to be undertaken by the CPVPV in Jeddah at the request of Abdul Aziz Al-Humain, Director of the CPVPV, and his deputy, Ibrahim Al-Howaimel.

Al Hayan pointed out that these courses compliment the training courses that began last year by a group of trained specialists in coordination with one of the best and most advanced training centers [in Saudi Arabia]. 21 training courses were undertaken last year [by the CPVPV] devoted to developing communication skills, the art of persuasion and influence, administrative innovation, the fight against witchcraft and sorcery, means of dealing with media agencies, and other specialized courses for members of the CPVPV.

It is worth noting that during a previous meeting with the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dr. Ibrahim Al-Howaimel mentioned that the CPVPV committed 35 mistakes in a grand total of 4000 cases. The total number of cases transferred by the CPVPV to the authorities last year numbered 3302 cases, 94% of which were cases that were not made public.

Al-Howaimel also indicated that around 22,277 cases ended with the signing of a contract [pledging not to commit the same crime again], and that 486 cases dealing with magic and sorcery occurred in the city of Mecca of a total of 2000 cases on the national level.