eISSN: 2469-2794 FRCIJ

Forensic Research & Criminology International Journal
Volume 1 Issue 5 - 2015
The Egyptian Revolution: An Analysis of the Egyptian Police Response, the Way to the Egyptian Police Reform (Subjective Projection)
Mamdooh A Abdelmottlep*
Sharjah Police, UAE
Received: December 2, 2015| Published: December 07, 2015
*Corresponding author: Mamdooh A Abdelmottlep, Professor of Criminal Justice & Legal Counselor, Sharjah Police, Founder & Executive Chairman (IPSA), UAE, Tel: +97150 4811062; +97150 4811062; Email:
Citation: Abdelmottlep MA (2015) The Egyptian Revolution: An Analysis of the Egyptian Police Response, the Way to the Egyptian Police Reform (Subjective Projection). Forensic Res Criminol Int J 1(5): 00030. DOI: 10.15406/frcij.2015.01.00030


The following analysis examines Egypt’s January 25, 2011 revolution in which the youth of the country mounted a revolution that resulted in regime change, exploring the reasons behind the action and the attitudes and actions of the police toward the community during this period. Research supports the theory that police violence and abusiveness towards the government resulting in the fall of the Mubarak regime. Three aspects of police use of force are examined: the police to resort to violence; whether or not the force was excessive; and whether police use of firearms against antigovernment demonstrators was justified. Results of the study support the argument put forth by the demonstrators that the Egyptian police service was in need of drastic reform in order to move it from being a mere security tool of government to a professional police force charged with serving the public. To achieve this end, the police service should be placed under the control of elected officials, police training must be reformed: and new security and police safety strategies should be adopted.

Keywords: Egyptian police; Revolution; Police use of force and violence; Police reform; Civilian controlled police


Five months already passed now and Egypt is still not like before in the previous days, where the start was only On January 25, 2011 thousands of demonstrators, most of them young Egyptians who communicated using computer technology, such as “Face book” and “twitter”, gathered on Tahrir Square in Cairo to continue their protests of a corrupt government and business establishment, and abuse by the police. The lack of change in political power, despite ongoing protests, had little impact on the government of President Hosni Mubarak, whose many years in office led to a powerful group of political elites, favoritism, and high rates of unemployment.

An increased sense of fear of the future, and a lack of confidence and trust in the government found a voice for the young people in the technology of the internet, where their grievances could be aired through cell phones and computers. Blackberry’s, I-Phones and any number of other devices became the mode of communication, in messaging, videos and photos, assisting greatly in the exchange of information and ideas among the young people, eventually impacting public opinion among vast numbers of Egyptians who rejected what was happening in Egypt. The desire for change became a vast public outcry.

In actuality, the movement had begun on April 6, 2008, triggered by a declaration issued by some of the Egyptian youth supporting a workers’ strike. Calling for a nationwide strike the youth movement gained traction in the formation of groups on Face Book to support and encourage striking workers. The movement, which eventually exceeded some seventy thousand on Face Book led to calls for strikes and disorder.

The movement aroused the Egyptian newspapers, and media support for the idea of a public strike on April 6. Within days a number of the different Egyptian opposition parties and political movements joined in support of the strike. Among the groups were the Kifaia Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Al-Karama Party of Mediocrity, and the Egyptian Labor Party. Property tax employees, the management and employees of the education sector, and university staff joined with the Egyptian Bar Association joined in the protest.

In 2008 the March 9 Movement, known as the Movement of University Staff, many intellectuals, bloggers and active Internet users, supported the notion of the strike all over Egypt under the slogan “Stay at home”. The call for demonstrations in several areas of Cairo, Alexandria and Mahala provinces resulted in arrests and a crackdown by police. The April 6 movement displayed the ability of young people to organize and achieve change through cooperative activities in different areas of Egypt – where the different classes and categories of the community could participate in the call for a democratic future and the end the abuses of political, economic and social control. Most of the young people did not have any political background, and they had never been involved in political activities. But their efforts to restore confidence among the Egyptian masses focused on their belief that they could choose their own destiny. They urged the masses to participate in determining their own fate through peaceful resistance and non-violence. They believed in peaceful change.

Protests and sit-ins continued through the months and years leading to the emergence and proliferation of private satellite channels, talk shows and direct telecasting programs. Complaints from the public and the events place in Egypt were reported through these means, and the larger public became aware of the rise in the culture of rejection and what was happening in Egypt in a peaceful manner. The community saw suffering of injustice. The government policy was to appoint ministers from the business class, who took advantage of their political offices to loot and corrupt. The absence of President Mubarak from the effective governance scene due to disease and the emergence of his son, Jamal Mubarak, led to further abuses. Corrupt businessmen like Ahmed Ezz, Ahmed al-Maghrabi and Zuhair Garana were under the direct protection and support of the Minister of Interior Habib El Adly, who used the police to protect the corruption and terrorize innocents. They paid more attention to protect the symbols of corruption by businessmen and the ruling establishment, with little or no consideration for the people.

It worth mentioning that Police strategies over 15 years under the control of Habib al Adli, were characterized by abuse, torture and ill-treatment of the public and the masses. Protection of forged elections, in favour of the corrupted businessmen, led to a lack of security and the prevalence of theft, murder, rape, assault, robbery and bribery gradually generated a feeling of frustration among the public. Fortunately, the technology of transmitting video and YouTube snapshots assisted greatly in reflecting what was actually happening, including the mistreatment of the public inside Egyptian police stations.

On December 17, 2010, Egyptian youth watched a young Tunisian, Mohamed Bouzizi, an unemployed university graduate set himself on fire to protest the confiscation of his fruit and vegetable cart by the municipal authorities in the city of Sidi Bou Zeid. Bouazizi’s complaint against a policewoman who slapped him had also been rejected by the authorities. This incident resulted in an outbreak of clashes between security forces and hundreds of the youths in the region. The demonstrations, aimed to support and show solidarity with Mohamed Bouazizi, was also to protest increasing rates of employment, marginalization and exclusion in the state. The protests ended with the arrest of dozens of the young persons and the destruction of some public facilities. The police were accused of using excessive violence that led to protests all over Tunisia, and ended with the fall of the Tunisian government and the country’s president fleeing.

The Tunisian revolution was a successful scenario for Egyptian youth and an example of what could happen in Egypt. They began to exchange ideas on Face book and unanimously agreed to come out on January 25, 2011, a day that was a feast day for the Egyptian police. This day was selected to direct a message to police authorities that their practices were unaccepted. The protesters agreed to gather in Tahrir Square as a symbol of the Egyptian youth movement. Tens of thousands of young people gathered a Tahrir Square, announcing their rejection of the regime and calling for change, but the Police confronted these peaceful demonstrations with excessive violence, using tear gas, water cannons, batons, beatings, torture and dogs. Demonstration leaders were seized by undercover officers, who also used bullies and the homeless to attack demonstrators. Armored vehicles were also used to disperse the demonstrators.

The excessive use of violence by the Police sparked the outbreak of demonstrations in other cities in Egypt, including Suez, Alexandria, Port Said, Ismailia, Alminya, Assiut, Luxor, Zagazig, Shebin al Kom and others, calling for change and condemning and rejecting Police practices. Confrontations between the demonstrators and police continued throughout the two days of January 26 and 27, spreading to include most of the cities of Egypt and North Sinai, encouraging the demonstrators to take part in the “Friday of Anger” on January 28. The Friday of Anger, saw the demonstrations continue, and expand, with all classes and categories of the community participating, including children, women and elders, men and youth and Christians and Muslims together calling for the fall of the regime.

The expanding demonstrations and the global publicity they raised prompted the Minister of the Interior to issue direct instructions suspending internet, telephone calls and the messaging services of Egypt. Rubber bullets were authorized resulting in the death and injury of many people. His request for permission to use live ammunition was rejected by the President Mubarak, who also ordered the deployment of the army in the streets to protect the protesters and vital installations of the state. The order was not popular with the Minister of Interior, who then ordered the withdrawal of police forces from all sites, vital installations, guards and squares leaving the Egyptian streets to chaos and the military.

The result was that some groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, and Hamas, encouraged by Iran, as well as the organized crime groups and gangs, took advantage of the chaos and according to reports of systematic planning, attacked police stations, seized weapons in the stations, released the prisoners and set the prisons on fire. They then turned to other Egyptian jails, focusing on those jails where their associates were detained, such as Wadi Al Natron, Abu Zabal and Torra jails. The groups broke into these jails using firearms, killing and wounding dozens of people. They released their associates who fled to their home countries of Iran, Lebanon and the Gaza strip. The absence of police control over the city was accompanied by incidents of looting, plundering and burning of the National Party centers, malls, and some hotels. Attacks also took place against unarmed civilians in their homes and neighborhoods.

In response to the public demand for change the Egyptian President announced on the appointment of Omer Suliman on January 29th as Deputy to the President, an office that had been vacant for almost thirty years. He also removed the cabinet and appointed a new cabinet chaired by Ahmed Shafiq, a former Minister known for his honesty and integrity. The new Prime Minister excluded all businessmen from the new cabinet, and issued orders to hold these symbols of corruption and prevent them from travelling and hiding or disposing their money.

These accelerated events throughout in Egypt virtually stopped the economic and commercial activities, closing Banks and Malls, and thousands of foreigners left the country through Cairo Airport. A curfew was imposed in Cairo and other major cities. In light of the absence of police the Egyptian youth formed popular committees to cooperate with the army to protect their homes and property, and also to help organize the traffic flow.

On 1st February more than one million persons took to the streets in most Egyptian cities calling for the departure of the President Mubarak and for a change of the regime. These demonstrations were used by some party leaders, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, and figures such as Mohamed El Baradei, who tried to “take over” the demonstrations and speak in the name of the protestors, looking toward playing a political role in the near future. Other entities including Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Syria, Hezbollah and Hams, tried to make use of the situation, reporting events in ways that served their goals, increasing the magnitude of the public rage in the absence of the Egyptian media role. They encouraged the army to intervene and support the protesters, forcing the government to fall. That same evening President Mubarak responded to the demands of the angry crowds, announcing that he would not run again in September elections, nor would his son run, and he would not repeat the constituency elections, over which there had been electoral objections.

In additions to amending the Constitution to meet the demands of the masses, Mubarak also ordered the government and the vice president to begin a dialogue with the opposition. The president also addressed the Egyptian people, saying that he had served the country for 62 years, including 30 years as President of the Republic, and that he gave a lot to this country and would work to ensure a peaceful transfer of power in Egypt in the coming September election. The effect of this proclamation by the President, coupled with the deterioration of living conditions in Egypt, and the suspension of the Egyptian way of life, convinced many people that, because the demonstrations, protests and the youth revolution had achieved their goal, there was no objection for the President to continue until September. Accordingly, many demonstrations were organized supporting this trend toward stability. However, this plan was not accepted or supported by those who wanted to use the events to serve their internal and external goals. This led to clashes between demonstrators calling for change and the supporters of stability. On February 2nd clashes broke out between the two parties and ten persons were killed with 2500 injured. The army intervened to separate the demonstrators and to prevent further injuries, but the fighting continued all through February 3rd, leading the army to increase its forces. There was also a gradual return of the police forces to the Egyptian streets.

On February 4, the demonstrators from both sides called for a Friday of Leave, or a Friday of Stability, encouraging each party to gather and mobilize their supporters. This led to a split of the Egyptian community into two groups, those supporting the stability plan, and those calling for regime change. The situation was similar to Iraq, where Shiites and Sunnis were in conflict; and in Lebanon, where Hezbollah and the Hariri group were divided. The fear in Egypt was that a similar situation could develop and would continue for a long time. President Mubarak then announced that he would resign and turned the country over to the Military Council which as of July 2011, remains in power. The Council has set the end of the year as a target for the election of the new President, and the elections of the people’s council and the parliament.

In the months following the revolution of January 25, 2011 the Egyptian society commenced the trials of symbols of corruption, starting with Jamal Mubarak, the former President’s son, and all of the ex-ministers and their accomplices. Committees were formed to review the causes of corruption and its spread, with a focus on the behavior of police in particular.

First : Security Dealing with the Demonstrations

The committee that was formed to evaluate the security performance of the police during the period of the Revolution issued a 300 pages report, concluding from interviews that the police had apparently used rubber bullets, shotguns and live ammunition, against the demonstrators, and used snipers on the rooftops of building, around Tahrir Square in Cairo. Medical reports indicated that most of the deaths were from gunshot wounds and cartouches in the head, neck, and chest. The use of firearms required permission of a committee headed by the Minister of Interior and senior officers of the Ministry who gave the orders to use firearms to the police.

Shootings had begun on January 25th in the city of Suez, followed by the use of shotguns in all provinces of Egypt particularly in Cairo, Gaza, Alexandria, Ismailia, Dakahliya, Qalubia, and the western and eastern provinces, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Assiut, Aswan and the North Sinai. The committee also believed that armored vehicles of the police had deliberately run into the demonstrators, killing and injuring many of them. One of these vehicles was seen in the visual media and shown on the social communication network, driving toward a demonstrator and running his down. Another vehicle was shown going back to crash and kill another protestor.

A white armored guard vehicle with diplomatic plates was also seen heading from Al Qasr Al-Aini Street towards Tahrir Square, moving with great speed among the crowds of demonstrators, smashing and killing many of them. Two of these vehicle were found later by the committee, one behind Fam Al Khalij police station in Cairo and the other at Sahil Al Ghilal police station. Fingerprints were lifted from the chassis of the vehicles, but the committee was unable to identify a suspect from the Traffic and Customs departments. Subsequently, the officer on duty in Fam Al Khalij police station advised that a American Embassy representative came to the police station to report that one of the vehicles had been stolen from the US Embassy. The investigation by the public prosecutor is still underway, and a judge has been requested to follow up on the investigations.

Second : Deaths and Injuries due to Security Violence

In a statement dated February 20, 2011 the Head of the Curative Medicine sector in the Egyptian Ministry of Health stated that the number of deaths and injuries among the demonstrators were 384 and 6467 respectively. Another senior officer in the Ministry of Health reported that, the number of deaths was 846 as of February 21st. He based his statistics on reports received from the different provinces and signed by the Head of the above-mentioned sector. The number reported by the Head of the sector was incorrect, although he had the actual statement in hand that indicated the number of injuries were still unclear and incorrect according to the previous statement.

The committee reviewed copies of the statements submitted by the day the Health authorities in the different provinces and, according to the committee the correct number of deaths as of February 16th was at least 846. Also, a memo issued by the Minister of Interior indicated that between January 25th and February 2nd, 26 police officers were martyred. The Prisons Department, in a letter on March 3rd, stated that the number of deaths and injuries among the prisoners were 189 and 263 respectively, while four corrections officers died and 30 were injured.

Third: Assessment of the Use of Force Against the Demonstrators

The use of force by the Egyptian Police against the demonstrators raised four major questions:

  1. Was it necessary for the Egyptian police to use force in confronting the demonstrators?
  2. Did the police use excessive force to disperse the demonstrators?
  3. Was there any order issued by a senior police official with authority that permitted police to use force against the demonstrators?
  4. Did the police use of “outlaws” to bully and commit violent acts against the demonstrators?

Answer to these questions follows:

Q.1. Was it necessary for the Egyptian police to use force in confronting the demonstrators?

First, it is worth mentioning here that the rights of peaceful assemble is one of the fundamental freedoms universally recognized in Article V of the General Assembly of the United Nations (No. 144/53 of December 9, 1998). The protection of fundamental freedoms is universally recognized, where each person has the right, individually or jointly, on both national and international levels, to meet or assemble peacefully and to form non-governmental organizations, associations or groups, or to join and participate and communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations.

Also, Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has confirmed the right of peaceful assembly and the guarantees and obligations of the States to recognize and observe this right, stipulating that the right to peaceful assembly must be recognized and not to set any restrictions on exercising this right, other than those imposed in conformity with the law, as necessary measures in a democratic society to safeguard the national security or public safety or public order or the protection of public health or the public morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. While article 54 of the Constitution of 1971 also confirmed that, stipulating that, public meetings, processions and gatherings shall be permitted within the limits of the law, the same as stipulated by the Constitutional Declaration issued recently by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, emphasizing the right of peaceful assembly the right of expression and the right to confront the excessive use of armed forces to abort the peaceful assemble, ensuring the legal commitment to exercise this right, and ensure at the same time not to use force against this right in a way that threatens the lives and safety of the demonstrators.

Article 102 of Law No. 109 of 1971 regarding police organization stated that a policeman has the right to use force to extent necessary to perform his duty, if it is the only way to perform his duty. It is clear from the previous discussion that the demonstrations were peaceful in different parts of Egypt as shown in the demonstrators’ shouting particularly in Tahrir Square from January 25th to 28th. Nevertheless, the police used water cannons, and when these failed to disperse the demonstrators, they fired a hail of rubber bullets, cartridges and live ammunition, injuring and killing many people, beginning with the Suez province on January 25th and then spreading to other provinces.

Q.2. Did the police use excessive force to disperse the demonstrators?

The legislative system in Egypt contains several provisions on the rules and regulations governing the use of force by the police to disperse demonstrations and to control riots, particularly concerning the use of firearms. The law 109 of 1971 on Police Authority, and the Minister of Interior decree No. 139 of 1955 regarding the rules for public meetings and demonstrations on the streets; and the Minister of Interior decree No. 156 of 1964, regarding the use of firearms: and article 102 of Law No. 109 of 1971 regarding the use of force by the police states that the policeman has the right to use force to the extent necessary to perform his duty, if it is the only way to perform this duty. The third paragraph refers to the dispersal of crowds of the least five people. If they are endangering public safety, it states that after warning the crowd, the use of firearms is to be ordered by a senior officer. Thus, the article referred to, imposes as a condition that the use of firearms can only be allowed to achieve the above purposes. The police should first warn the crowd that they will use firearms before firing. The Minister of Interior will determine the procedures to be followed in all cases, including how to warn the crowds before authorizing the use of firearms.

The Minister of the Interior decision No. 286 of 1972 follows the Minister of Interior decree No. 651 of 1964 that regulates the use of firearms. It states that firearms are to be used the extent necessary to disperse crowds, only after exhausting all other means, such as warnings, the use of batons or tear gas, and after warning shots. Caution should be taken to avoid shooting innocent people, and shooting should only be directed to the legs.

Proof of the excessive use of force by the police follows

  1. The large number of deaths and injuries: The number of the people killed was at least 840, while several thousand demonstrators suffered injuries as a result of the use of firearms and tear gas by the police.
  2. Most of the fatal injuries were in the head and chest, indicating that shooting pointed, or was by snipers. Where victims did not die the shooting mutilated their faces and damaged their eyes. Statements of witnesses and doctors and hospital visits revealed that the victims particularly in the Al Qasr Al Aini Hospital had received hundreds of eye injuries especially on January 28 and February 2, 2011. In many cases the victims lost their eyesight.
  3. The bullets fired by the police hit some people who were watching the events from the balconies and windows of their houses opposite the police stations. These incidents were the result of random shooting, or attempts by police personnel to prevent people from taking photographs of the assaults on demonstrators. Children and innocent victims caught up in the chaos were also affected by indiscriminate shooting.
  4. Some of the demonstrators were deliberately crushed by police armored vehicles.

Q.3. Issuance of an order by a senior officer who commands authority, to use force against the demonstrators

Article 201 of Law No. 901 of 1971 regarding police authority states that the order to use firearms by the police should be issued by a senior officer who should be obeyed. It should follow a warning to the crowds to disperse where public security is endangered. This was actually done when the order was issued by the Minister of Interior and the leadership of the Ministry to police officers to use the firearms to disperse the crowds. The order was passed gradually from senior officers, according to the seniority sequence to the armed police forces as the scenes of the events. Such action indicates that

  1. Police use of firearms occurred in most of the Egyptian provinces, indicating that an order had been issued by a central authority in the Ministry of Interior and which should have been obeyed. The Minister of Interior is the central authority with regard to the police.
  2. The issuance and delivery of firearms and live ammunition to the police forces in all provinces to use in dispersing the demonstrations can only be authorized through an order issued by senior authority in the Ministry of Interior.
  3. A report of the Ministry of Interior dated February 27, 2011 to the police forces on how to deal with riot events indicates that orders should be issued in coordination with the leadership of the central security, directors of security in the provinces, the director general of public security and the director of the State’s investigations.
  4. A letter from the senior assistant to the Minister of Interior, February 27, 2011 states that permanent orders prohibit the use of firearms and ammunition or even holding personal arms; and that the crisis management committee in each province should issue orders regarding the use of force in dispersing the demonstrations.
  5. The former Deputy of the State’s Investigations unit stated that the use of the firearms should only be based upon an order issued by the Minister of Interior, who must inform the political leadership about the order, and if shooting continued for more than one day, the political leadership should be made aware of it.
  6. One of the assistants of the former Minister of Interior stated that the use of force should only be to disperse crowds and riots, according to a gradual escalation of steps to be reported by the leaders of the brigades to their senior leaders, and up to the assistant to the Minister for Central Security. General Ahmed Ramzi held this position during the events of the revolution on January 25th. He should have reported to the senior assistant to the Minister of Interior, who at that time was General Ismail Al Sha’ir, who notified Minister of Interior, who is the only person who can authorize the issuance of orders to use live ammunition. The minister would have to issue orders to his assistants to hand over their locations to the army once a decision was made to deliver the locations to the army and to coordinate with the army. This never happened.
  7. The committee formed by the Government of Revolution sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior to provide the committee with the inventory books of the stores of weapons kept in the sectors of the Central Security Forces during the period from January 25th to January 31, 2011 as a means checking the quantity of the ammunition used during the events. Also, to inform the committee about the contents of the signals recorder kept in the ministry and the operation room of the QHQ of the Central Security forces during the same period. The committee never received any response as of the date this report was prepared.

Q.4.Use of “outlaws” by the Egyptian police to bully and commit violent acts against the demonstrators:

On Wednesday morning, February 2, 2011 through dawn on Thursday, February 3rd a series of bloody events took place in most provinces of Egypt, particularly in Tahrir square, which became the symbol of the January 25th Revolution. It was the gathering place for rebels from all parts of the country and that day was called “Bloody Wednesday”.

Following the early morning of that day great numbers of regime supporters gathers in the square of Mustafa Mahmud in the Arab League street upon instructions from some of the leaders of the former ruling National Party. This was confirmed by one of the leaders of the National Party in a TV program. Other groups of the former President’s supporters also flocked from neighborhoods in Cairo and settled in the streets leading to the Tahrir Square, to prevent the demonstrators opposing the regime access to the square, and to block protesters inside the Square. Some of the undercover police personnel supporting the regime slipped among the demonstrators inside the square, while another group occupied the rooftops of the buildings opposite Al Tahrir square.

At mid-day, large numbers of police rushed into the square, most from the side of the Abdel-Moneim Riyad, 6 October Bridge, and the entrance to al Tahrir square from Talaat Harb Street. They started to throw stones and marbles and Molotov cocktails (cocktails) at the demonstrators and at the same time, police fired live bullets, rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters. Snipers fired bullets from the highest buildings facing the square. A group of horses and camels riders, most of them from Nazlat Al Saman in the pyramids area, gathered at Mustafa Muhmud square, and headed for Al Tahrir square, breaking through railings that had been erected by the Army to secure the demonstrators. They attacked and beat the demonstrators, causing injuries where some led to death. Supporters of the regime continued their attacks throwing solid objects and cut stone and marble on the demonstrators. For the demonstrators, there was no other way than to defend themselves, and they started to break into the square and throw stones at their attackers. This situation continued until the early morning of February 3rd.

The demonstrators were able to hold some of the camel riders and some of the regime supporters who were attacking them. It also appeared that some of the National Party members and undercover police were involved, together with hired outlaws, in attacking the demonstrators in Al Tahreer square. The demonstrators captured a number of them, and in checking their identities, it appeared that, they were covert police and members of the National Party. They were handed over to the armed forces for legal actions.

The public prosecutor decided to prosecute the former Minister of Interior, his senior assistants and a number of police officers in Cairo and Giza. On the 6th of October, in Suez, Alexandria, Al Buhaira, Western, Qalubia and Dakahlia, East, Damiett and Beni Suef provinces. They were charged with willful and premeditated murder or demonstrators as well as attempted murder and participation in these crimes, but not their crimes of causing serious harm to the funds and the interests of where they work, and the entrusted funds and interests of others. Because of the lack of accurate information about the numbers of demonstrators, and not realizing the impact of the popular revolution, and the need to deal with the demonstration by using force and violence to disperse the demonstrations, the thing which exhausted the forces and aborted their morale and forced them to withdraw from their locations causing state of chaos and lack of security, in a way that subjected the lives, health and security of people to risk and damaged to the public and private properties and consequently damaged the country’s economic status.

Transformation of the Egyptian Police from a Policing Police, to an Advanced Civilized Police

In 1990 I submitted my scientific research thesis for the Ph.D in Police Science and my recommendation in this study was that, police work should be a professional, and policing should be a “profession” and not a “job”. But due to omission and disregard for this theory and a lack of strategic thinking the iron fist concept prevailed. Policing practices included torture and repression against both the people and the criminals. There was no security and great distances between the people and power structure was created. The police were used to represent the horrible façade of the regime, where increased attention was directed to political security at the expense of social security.

In my opinion with regard to modernization of the Egyptian police and police reform, four major themes or stages should be followed:

First stage: Developing strategies for the police, from policing the police to the development of a modern police service under civilian control

The strategy of the Ministry of Home Security: Police work should stand on a scientific, professional and legal basis with a clear vision of their mission, goals, values and strategic objectives. Clear measures of performance should be understood and known to all personnel within the police service. The vision must be based on achieving security and safety for all the citizens of Egypt. It is also incumbent upon the political and community leaders to set forth expectations and goals. Strategic objectives should focus on the best investment in human resources, effective use of financial and technological resources, and on working with the partners or stakeholders in Egyptian society. The values of the police service should include honesty, truthfulness, justice and the protection of human rights. Encouraging creativity and ensuring the readiness and preparedness of the police will lead to providing security and safety and maintaining public confidence. Finally there must be established standards for achieving strategic objectives in order to measure levels of police performance on a scientific basis.

Building a culture of excellence in the police service: Developing a culture that embraces the goals and objectives stated above should be coupled with a conceptual model based on international standards where they exist, and incorporating sound principles of management and leadership in the various divisions and units of the police service. By adopting a culture of quality and excellence based on international standards of policing the police service of Egypt will also recognize the importance of developing criteria and standards that may be unique to the country. Major operations should be specified for each police department with clearly defined responsibilities of the positions within the organization and that identifies who is responsible for defining and implementing policy. This should enable auditing systems, continuous improvement and effective channels of communication with all police personnel. Developing a culture of excellence among police personnel is of great importance in developing police work.

Providing an encouraging environment for creativity: Creativity in security work is one of the most important motivations for police personnel and this can be increased by providing the resources necessary to encourage innovation. Civil community institutions should be able to bring forward ideas and suggestions that can contribute to developing the security work, encouraging the exchange of information and enhancing constructive debate. Knowledge of scientific security research, entering into partnership with Egyptian universities and research centers to study different security models, and evaluating the results of research fosters creativity. By providing opportunities for researchers to study the police environment the beneficiaries will be both the community and the police service.

Second stage: Promoting the concept of a civilian role policing

The concept of a civilian role in policing consists of two major elements namely: the way in which the police serve the public. In this regard concepts of the community policing and neighborhood policing must be applied, and successful theories adopted. The “broken window” theory, and intelligence led policing are two examples, as are the formation of community partnership with the public, and the formation of security councils in the neighborhoods. These should include representatives of the public who can present their views of the way in which police operate. Memoranda of Understanding (MOU’s) and cooperation with the civil community institutions can help establish offices to assist victims and security centers for the social support.

The second element includes the measurement of police services in terms of public satisfaction, response times to call for service, and other standard measures of police performance. This includes the use of technology in police investigations including cameras for interviewing and interrogations to minimize dependence on physical force to gain confessions; and to increase the use of information technology to aid in investigations.

Third stage: Reformation of the internal organizational structure and enhancing the human resources of the people

This Ministry of Interior should be re-structured in order to serve the concept of civilian control, and to establish a system for police personnel that protects the job security recognizing that this system must eradicate the caste system, minimize job and financial differences and ensure fair distribution of police resources and allocations. No police department should be distinguished other departments as all are the same within the police organization.

Fourth stage: Reformation of the police education system                                                                    

Modifying the education and training structure of police academy: Currently, the Egyptian Police College is similar to a faculty of law with security studies. The current educational system leads to the graduation of police officers with a degree in law, and a diploma in police science. Law studies represent 70% of the total curriculum while police studies represent 30%. These percentages do not conform to the types of crime and police services that police departments in Egypt handle. For example, in the area of crime control and investigation, crimes like money laundering require a through awareness of business auditing and computer science while crimes like antiquities smuggling require an awareness of archeology and international law, together with security awareness and so on. With the increase of community awareness and the role of the police in the States, police performance has not met public expectations.

The problem can be solved in two phases, the first through expanding the training of specialized officers to more effectively support the specialization system that has become more common in police work. The graduates of law colleges could be employed as investigators in police stations; the graduates of physical education colleges, for example, might be assigned to order maintenance; the graduates of the colleges of Medicine would work in the police hospitals, and graduates biology and chemistry would work in one of the forensic science laboratories or forensic medicine; graduates of the colleges of engineering in physical security and infrastructure protection; and graduates of colleges of information and media in the fields of public information and media relations.

The second phase would be to upgrade the police academy to a university of police science that would include the study of general and basic police sciences in the first year, and then the student would specialize in the second year in one of the areas available in the university, where colleges for the different specializations would be established. These might include the Criminal Investigation & Interrogation College, Traffic & Roads College, Civil Defense, Safety and Fire-fighting college, Order Maintenance & Pubic Security College and the Forensic Laboratories & Forensic Medicine college and so on. In the third year a student might further specialize in disciplines within specific branches. For example, if he is in the Criminal Investigation & Interrogation College, he could specialize in the crimes against persons or in the financial crimes and so on. In the final year, a student could further expand his knowledge in one or more areas.

The advantage of such change would be to place more attention on the study of police science, which has developed throughout the world. A lack of knowledge by many involved in police education in Egypt indicates that many police educators are not in favor of change because they are unaware of how much the field has expanded, with greater emphasis on crime investigation, human rights, community policing, and the use of technology. Unfortunately the inability of police officer to detect crimes has become a justifiable reason for them to adopt illegal methods of detention, torture and oppression.

Another advantage would be to promote the professionalism of police work are similar to any other profession, such as engineering, science and medicine. Professionalism requires a high degree of education and training and the days of having officers who can work everywhere and do everything are no longer realistic as society has become more complex.

Establishing colleges of Criminal Justice: The criminal justice system involves the police, public prosecution, the judiciary system and corrections or prisons in which all these organizations are supposed to complement each other. The failure to develop assistants for senior police officers, public prosecutors and judges indicates that we are paying more attention to senior staff rather than executive personnel.

Criminal Justice College are found everywhere round the world. In the United States of America there are more than 1,900 colleges and universities with Criminal Justice programs, and the graduates of these colleges are working in almost all aspects of the criminal justice programs, and the graduates of these colleges are working in almost all aspects of the criminal justice system. They are involved in policing and law enforcement, supervision of judgments, court management, as clerks for the judiciary and as managers of prisons. They also play a role in private security, the military and national security sectors. Government and community leaders should be encouraged to support Egyptian universities to establish such colleges.

Fifth stage: Reformation of police training

Police work should be supported by specialized training for all those working in the field, whether inside or outside the work environment. Specialized training should focus in particular on developing positive relationships with the public on human rights, police technologies and public security. These areas of training may already be offered by the training authorities but training involves more than a focus on the subject area, but also on the content of the training, the qualifications of the instructor, the training environment and the evaluation methods that measure the outcomes of the training. We observed that most of the instructors are experienced police leaders and although we need to make use of their experience. This does not mean that we should rely on them as the pillars of training. The importance of specialization in the field of training and the ability to develop training curricula is particularly important as a means of exchanging knowledge in the security field.

Sixth stage: Technology in police work

Police organizations should increase their reliance on technology especially in the fields of police management, infrastructure protection, security operations, the sharing of security information and the use of technology to improve criminal investigation, resource allocation, traffic control and crime prevention. Technology can help develop professionalism and will definitely minimize the use of the traditional policing practices associated with torture, intimidation to obtain confessions or extract information.

Seventh stage: Privatization of some police services

The ministry of Internal Affairs been in existence since the 1930’s in the last century. Little has changed, except the name change to the ministry of interior but which does not reflect that it is actually concerned with all municipal works before the year 1952. The thing which was reflected in the role of the police and its specializations, where the Egyptian police was used o carryout the works of utilities police, the traffic police, prisons, civil defense and civil safety works such as fire fighting and rescuing which led to the diversity and complexity of police work been distributed in different and multiple areas. The only available solution is to privatize the police work through:

  1. Changing the name of the Ministry to the name of Homeland Security instead of Ministry of Interior, to actually reflect the nature of its work.
  2. Authorize civil entities to carry out the work of utilities, licensing, defense, and civil safety, but under the supervision of the police organization wherein services offered to an by private companies and together with the State’s control over fees and charges of these services.
  3. Put the prisons under the total supervision of the Ministry of Justice, and evaluate the employment of private companies to run them. Police should only be responsible for security supervision.
  4. Obligating the big economic establishment, jewelry and gold stores and other large stores and companies and private enterprises to appoint special and well trained guards, under the supervision of the police.
  5. Develop legal guidelines and procedures for the issuance of licenses to private guard firms and coordinate organization with economic establishments specialized in security and guarding.
  6. Expand the role of the private security sector to carry out some of the traditional tasks that take up the time of the police and do not contribute to public safety.
  7. Privatization of many services will greatly assist in freeing up time for sufficient forces of officers, warrant officers and policemen to carry out the fundamental tasks of the police work.

These are only some ideas, and there are many more of the same. For those who wish to go into more deep in the field of police work development many books and research articles have been published in this area. The above recommendations are based on my long experience in the field of police work in Egypt and on my experience in areas of police concepts studies and research.


Lessons learned from the recent events in Egypt
  1. The recent events in Egypt revealed that none of the Egyptian parties has weight or significance over the others because all are beneficiaries who are looking to make use of the situation for their personal interests. This includes the Muslim Brotherhood, a group which is taking advantage of the human pains under the name of the religion. Only the people’s movement arose to express their desire for change and they succeeded greatly in attracting public attention and support in areas where the other groups have failed over many decades.
  2. Following the events of January 25th no one has succeeded in convincing the groups of people that he is the best, and the one who can lead the State after Mubarak. The stars that appear on the satellite channels and behind the cameras offer their candidacy most without a real and factual contribution to the events that brought about change.
  3. I do not think in a case of peaceful transition of power over the State that the Muslim Brotherhood group and their supporters although they are more organized and have experience in elections are necessarily the best choice. They may be the majority in the coming people’s council, but the Egyptians are already fed up with their leadership under the name of religion to take the power.
  4. Corruption is always linked to the power structure and the fortunes of a country which is what happened in Egypt during the last fifteen years. The era of the businessmen in government must be based on a partnership to succeed but there must be accountability, democracy, power-sharing, short term governments. Five years should be the maximum and there should be a renewal of blood in the government structure. This did not happen and it led to the collapse of institutional values throughout the Egyptian government.
  5. The army is the major stakeholder in Arab countries and third world countries, where the alignment of the army to the side of the opposition may lead to the departure of a President and the collapse of the regime. But its alignment to the side of the government can mean the suppression of demonstrations and gagging of mouths. And where the army means to keep the situation as it is, it leads to the events in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Syria.
  6. Egypt lost the leadership that capable of managing the crisis in its first stages, because it depended only on the police where there was not a clear understanding of how to confront a protesting movement in the modern era.
  7. The role of the multimedia has increased dramatically in the current age of information sharing and it became possible in Egypt to mobilize more than one million persons to express their opinions with short electronic messages. Multimedia also helped to raise the people’s awareness of their rights and duties. The electronic media played an important role in transmitting images and sound of events as they took occurred.
  8. The role of soft power, the influence of broadcasting and TV channels, newspapers, magazines, the internet, laptops and a new generation of mobile phones has increased to the point that requires intervention of the ruling power and those concerned to set strategy based on proper management of this soft power, in a way that serves the supreme interests of the State.
  9. With regard to the security level of the police organization, there were many lessons and examples, the most important of which are the following:
  1. The need for the continuous communication with different categories of the civil community; the importance of enhancing the role of police in the civil community; and adoption of the principles of community policing that stands on two fundamental elements: the first is performance of the police, represented by procedures that provide a high level of police service; and the second is the adoption of a philosophy by police leaders in based on enhancing a culture of human rights by word and deed.
  2. Continuous and parallel concerns with both criminal security and political security, where the police pay great attention in confronting crime, while the political security can be delegated to other security authorities that have to manage homeland security.
  3. Police services such as guard and security services for the large businesses, such as banks corporations must be privatized. Other entities should assume the responsibilities for vehicles licensing and Traffic. Civil entities should b established to handle non-policing functions such as fire-fighting, emergency rescues and ambulance services. Punitive and Correctional Establishments should be under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. These changes will enable the police to assume their major responsibility which is public safety, crime prevention and other policing services.
  4. The police must be present and participate in forums and the social events, communicating with the people explaining their role and listening to their opinions and ideas, and making their procedures and policies known to the community.
  5. There is an urgent need to improve security governance and the drafting of conditions of employment, procedures and mechanisms for handling events, and rules, procedures and standards for security work. The police organization must adopt concepts of transparency and integrity and to continuously address the community keeping the public aware of the facts of an incident or case; and make the public aware of procedures of accountability and the actions taken against those in the police organization who omit or neglect their duties.
© 2014-2019 MedCrave Group, All rights reserved. No part of this content may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means as per the standard guidelines of fair use.
Creative Commons License Open Access by MedCrave Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://medcraveonline.com
Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version | Opera |Privacy Policy