Yemenis voice appreciation for patrolmen
In early January, patrol police rebelled against their own leader because of the rampant corruption in their institution.
Patrolmen in Yemen were established in 2001, recruiting students from the Police School, and now number more than 800. Their task is to stop people from carrying weapons in public places, prevent crimes before they happen and work for the security of tourists.
“Although we work to prevent harassment in the crowded places and markets, citizens barely know about us because our uniforms are similar to those worn by traffic police,” said Moneer Alobahi, a patrolman who graduated from the Police School.
He added that their main task is to strengthen the relationship between citizens and the police because people often have a poor opinion of policemen.
“Anyone can see the mistrust and the gap between citizens and the police so we try out best to ensure that we are at their service,” he added.
Patrolmen wear a light blue shirt and dark blue trousers, just like the traffic police. They also hold a pistol, electric detonator and a wireless communication device.
“We work to reduce any problems we come across so the policemen have less to deal with when they arrive,” Alobahi explained.
Citizens say that they really appreciate the work of the patrolmen and that they are desperately needed in Yemen’s cities after a turbulent year.
“We want to feel safe wherever we go,” said Nermen Alareqe, a dentist.
She explained that even though she has a car, she still does not want to go out alone because with her clinic based in Al-Tahreer Square – which now has a reputation for harassment – she does not always feel safe.
“We all know what kind of people are in Al-Tahreer,” she said. “I think if there was more security around that the harassment would stop.
Mustafa Alshamiri, owner of fabric shop in Jamal Street, one of Sana’a’s most popular markets, echoed Alareqe’s concerns. “Our markets are crowded with all kinds of people especially the bad ones who harass women,” he said, adding that sometimes women’s bags are also stolen in the busy shopping area – and it is often the patrol police who catch such criminals. “If we had more patrolmen in such places I am sure these problems would disappear.”
Commander of the Patrol police, lieutenant colonel Abdo Al-Jumaee, told the Yemen Times “The patrol police are closer to the people on streets than any other security service.”
“We reduce the number of potential crimes in opposite to the regular police who does not exceed the police station and received letters,” he said.
He added that this kind of police is doing a humanitarian job including taking lost people to their homes and taking also clinically insane people to safer places.
“We have patrol policemen in Sana’a international airport, in gardens and parks and crowded streets and places as well as tunnels,” he said.