Saudi security officers warned against abuse of power





“We won’t show any leniency toward such officers,” local newspapers quoted Lt. Gen. Saeed Al-Qahtani, director general of public security, as saying after opening the newly built traffic department headquarters in Riyadh. “If security officers are found mistreating individuals or misusing their power they will be given the toughest punishment.”

Qahtani said thousands of security-related activities take place daily. “There are at least 30,000 operations including arrests of thieves and wanted criminals. Excesses might take place during these huge number of operations. Nobody denies this fact as security officers are not angels,” he said. “We’ll take strong action against every security person who was found deliberately causing harm to anybody and we’ll not show any leniency in protecting the rights of citizens and residents.”

Qahtani’s statement came as the Court of Grievances in Al-Jouf sentenced five officers of the anti-drug department to 18 months after being convicted of misusing their power and allegedly beating to death a Saudi citizen.

According to Mansour Al-Anazi, the officers attacked his brother Turki while he was going with his eight-year-old son to pick up his sister at the transport station around midnight. The department’s vehicle first struck Turki’s car and then the officers attacked him, Al-Anazi said.

Turki was taken to Arar Central Hospital but doctors said he had died before reaching hospital.

During his press conference, Qahtani said 90 percent of stolen cars are abandoned. The rest are either dismantled and sold in parts or smuggled out of the Kingdom.

He said the department would support the use of any device or technology, such as GPS tracking systems for cargo trucks, to prevent car thefts.

Qahtani said the Kingdom’s security machinery was all set for the March 28-29 Arab summit in Riyadh.

He said the new car number plates would come into effect by the end of this year. “This change was essential as we have a large number of expatriate population who do not know Arabic letters and numbers,” he said.

He said the traffic awareness campaign in Riyadh was successful. He urged drivers to slow down for the safety of themselves and other road users. Speeders in the Kingdom face tougher penalties than in other countries. Persons caught speeding have their cars impounded and subjected to jail time, usually 24 hours although the lock-up time will be longer if drivers are caught right before the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend.

He said the number of people died last year due to traffic accidents was less than that of the year before.

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