Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – A study related to developing the General Presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has called for increasing the number of “suitable security men” — as described by the study — accompanying commission members during their fieldwork, and allowing them to carry arms.
The field study, which was conducted by the King Saud University and the King Abdullah Institute for Research and Consultative Studies, presented several demands, foremost among which — as far as the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (religious police) are concerned — was the demand to offer commission members bigger financial rewards.
The study was the main subject of discussion at an event held at the King Saud University in Riyadh and that was attended by individuals concerned with the performance of the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. It is worth noting that about 82 percent of the members of all commission branches are incapable of defending themselves against assault during their fieldwork. Those who supervised the study stressed the need to establish a special resource development fund for the commission from which the members of the religious police can benefit in the form of financial incentives offered to distinguished commission members working in the field.
The study emphasized the role of the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in controlling the Saudi street and putting an end to what it called the “behavioral chaos within the Saudi society.”
The study also associated the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice with security men. The demands presented by the study included the need to provide commission members with walky-talkies, similar to those used by policemen, in an effort to facilitate the process of reaching and reporting any field incidents that the members of the religious police may confront while working in the field.
The field study focused on the need to prepare commission men for their fieldwork through holding special training sessions in the field of crime expansion and crime prevention methods, introducing them to the penal system adopted by the state, teaching them how to conduct arrest operations against violators, and enabling them to monitor raids carried out by commission members once a violation is detected. This is in addition to introducing commission members to report and statement writing, as well as to abominable acts and their means, according to the study.
The Saudi study emphasized the need for coordination among the concerned parties in markets, parks, and public places in Saudi regions and provinces that are often visited by the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. In the meantime, controls are being put in place to regulate the establishment of such places, which might be a reason for committing abominable acts. The study also recommended the installation of surveillance cameras through which members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice can monitor shopping malls and markets.
It also called for the need that all commission members master a number of languages, in an effort to facilitate communication with foreigners residing in Saudi Arabia and convince them of the religious police system, which has been adopted for decades. Moreover, the field study gathered the opinion of a number of Saudi officials concerning the operation of the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, including governors, judges, heads of investigation committees, public prosecutors, police chiefs, heads of drug combating departments, and others, who have a direct relationship with commission members.
All those whose opinion was sought unanimously agreed that the members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice play a role in maintaining the security of the Saudi society. This is while some officials working in the security sector in a number of Saudi regions hold the view that despite their limited resources, commission branches play a more important role than that of other government services.