While in popular perception, police in any country is secretive about its activities and how it tracks criminals. However, Bahrain’s police has gone to the other extreme. Complete openness seems to be its slogan. How else should one interpret the Bahrain Ministry of Interior’s holding of a two-day exhibition last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the creation of its modern police force?
The exhibition was free and open to public. Numerous booths showcased every conceivable activity undertaken by its various wings to maintain peace and security, improve traffic safety and control crime. It explained all the details of their functioning and answered all related questions.
On the occasion, the Ministry’s Police Media Director Lt-Col. Mohammed Bin Daina elaborated on the implementation of procedures to improved traffic safety. He said, not only included talks, lectures and conferences organised by the Ministry but also working on the ground by way of installing speed cameras including mobile one on highways. The results are for all to see in Bahrain where accidents have decreased and so has the number of drivers jumping the red signals.
The police have also disclosed that it has installed no less than 3,000 CCTV cameras across key spots in the Kingdom. This is a quite a large figure considering the country is the size of Singapore with nearly thee-fourth of it sparsely populated. In all, the Ministry’s Information Technology Exhibition showed off 62 systems and electronic services used by 13 of its directorates.
These systems, explained the officials at the exhibition, help the Ministry carry out analyses of the crime. It can track down criminals and also enables staff to respond in case of an emergency. Such is the reach of the new system that the Bahrain airport alone has 195 cameras installed.
The various shopping malls have another 100, not to speak of those installed at banks, hotels, markets. Add to this figure another 200 cameras put up at the police stations and the Ministry’s various departments.
The police had four cars with CCTVs which could see up to 2.5km and record for up to two months. There is also connectivity to Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) to be able to send images to the control room. In all there are 18 control rooms connected to the network and include Internet, e-mail, criminal database, human resources, financial crime and Geographic Information System applications.
Bahrain is only the second country in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council states after the emirate of Abu Dhabi to also have geo-fencing technology. In recent months there have been cases where Bahrain-based boats have inadvertently strayed into the territorial waters of neighbouring countries with painful consequences for the crews.
The exhibition also had stalls explaining the role and functioning of the Coast Guard and the directorate responsible for immigration, passports and visas. It included also the latest technology they deployed to improve their functioning.
Thus, Bahrain is keeping itself abreast of the latest developments and technology to maintain security in the country. And it does not believe in keeping its state-of-the-art technology under wraps. Rather it wants to share its ‘secrets’ with the community whose welfare and security is its primary concern.