Friday, 10 June 2011

Kuwaiti Women Make it in Police Force

CTTA Pursuing Contracts in Middle East

There is a noticeable increase in the number of women joining the police training academy as Kuwaiti women are constantly encouraged to participate in all areas of society, according to women Lieutenants at the Support Authority Institute of the Saad Al-Abdullah Academy for Security Sciences.

The Arab Times spoke exclusively with four Lieutenants at the support institute of the academy - Head of the Department of Training Affairs, First Lieutenant Anisa Musfer Abdulla, Lieutenant in the Department of Learning and Examination Affairs, Hadeel Ebrahim Karam, Lieutenant in the Department of Learning, Training and Library Aids, Dalal Mohamed Mosa, and current Police Training Consultant at the academy, Lieutenant Mona Ali Abdul Rahim.

The Lieutenants explained the role of policewomen in Kuwait, the courses taken at the academy and the challenges women face in the police, where only men were allowed to participate in since the establishment of the State of Kuwait.
From left: First Lieutenant Anisa Musfer Abdulla, Lieutenant Hadeel Ebrahim Karam and Lieutenant Dalal Mohammed Mosa.

The first batch of female cadets in Kuwait graduated in March 25, 2009 in an elaborate ceremony attended by His Highness the Amir and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Vice President of the National Guards Corps, Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, as well as His Highness the Prime Minister, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, among other senior statesmen.

Last year the country has witnessed a landmark parliamentary election as well where four women competed fiercely with their male counterparts and were enthusiastically elected by their districts. According to the Lieutenants, the Kuwaiti police is just another sector an increasing number of women want to prove themselves in, that they are capable and just as good as men in serving in the police force.

Q: When did the training of women for the police force begin?

Lieutenant Mona: The Ministry of Interior of Kuwait has requested the assistance of the Kingdom of Bahrain in training the women for the police force here since Bahrain is the one of the first in the Gulf region to accept women in the police force since the 1970s. So far we have 800 policewomen in Bahrain. Although we started early, at the beginning there wasn’t much acceptance by the community and only a few women joined the first year of training. In Kuwait, however we have witnessed tremendous enthusiasm by women in the police force and people applying to the academy has noticeably increased this year. In Bahrain, we are just starting to train women in patrolling the field and at the current rate women are developing in the police force, they are not far behind this progress.

Lieutenant Dalal: People keep asking why it has taken so long for women to join the police force. They should know that for a long time His Highness the Amir was considering this development; however he was just studying the methods and approach of other Middle Eastern countries and weighing the pros and cons the decision may have on Kuwait. Our cultural and Islamic traditions say that who is supposed to talk to women, hear her problems or touch her is another woman. So any reason why women should not join the police force is not valid or scientific.

The decision for women to join was made in 2001 although they started training us in 2008 after finalizing all the documents and allocating our training facility. Our titles were different from what we have now. We were given the titles such as ‘security supervisor’ and ‘security assistant’, which we were not happy about. Nevertheless, due to the constant support of His Highness the Amir and His Highness the Prime Minister, our titles became exactly like those of male graduates upon graduation. Since then we’ve acquired equal status with men.

Even though all the other policewomen training academies in the Middle East have started earlier than Kuwait, they began slowly and modestly. Even though Kuwait started training women for the police force late, we have developed much quicker, in only a few years.

First Lieutenant Anisa: I’ve been fortunate enough to provide training in Kuwait from institute’s inception in 2008-2009. Our training of policewomen in the Kingdom of Bahrain began in 1970. We brought to Kuwait our experiences and what we are witnessing now is not any different from Bahrain. In 2009, we’ve graduated 27 policewomen - 16 lieutenants, 8 deputy police officers and 3 sergeants. Some of the work as trainers in the academy and a lot work in airport security and the woman’s prison.

Currently, there are approximately 48 women in training who are expected to graduate this year. Policewomen are available in most departments belonging to the Ministry of Interior, such as the criminal investigation unit, airport security, forensics and the immigration and passport departments of the airport. They also participate in any political events, provide personal security and administer the woman’s prison. As like their male counterparts, policewomen are on call 24 hours and are expected to follow orders on the spot.

Q: How would you describe Kuwaiti policewomen?
First Lieutenant Anisa: When we started in Bahrain only a few women were willing to join the police force, however, the women here rushed to register when the program began. The women in Kuwait are really enthusiastic to participate in every field available in their country. We have found them to be strong-willed and determined and they have proved themselves able to handle any situation.
Police officers have to have certain personality and physical traits to be able to handle their job positions. The women we accept at the Academy must pass certain tests provided by the Ministry to determine mental health and physical capabilities. They also must be well reputed in the community and with a clear criminal record. The women trainees take exactly the same courses of self-defense and effective communication male police trainees and they get trained on the same weapons.

In February CTTA announced that preliminary talks were underway with Kuwait and Qatar regarding a project to train thousands of police officers.

The Canadian Tactical Training Academy (CTTA) is a for-profit educational institution devoted to worldwide training of peace and law enforcement officers, as well as all other professionals involved in the fields of security, investigation, protection and the maintenance of order.

The Academy also provides tailored security and safety oriented civilian training at both the individual and corporate levels.

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