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Bahrain police 'face more danger in line of duty'

Manama, March 9, 2014

Police in Bahrain are 116 times more likely to die in the line of duty than they are in the UK. That statistic is based on the per capita death rate of serving officers over the past three years, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Using this formula even police officers in the US, which is known for widespread gun ownership and high levels of violence, have less chance of dying on the job than their counterparts in Bahrain - where officers are nearly eight times more likely to be killed than in America.

According to official statistics, 12 policemen have been killed in Bahrain and more than 2,300 injured since the outbreak of anti-government protests in 2011.

A campaign of violence against the country's security forces claimed its latest victims last Monday, when a bomb detonated remotely in Daih killing three officers.

It was the single deadliest attack on police since the unrest started and means an average of four officers a year have died on the streets since 2011.

This equates to one policeman for every 325,000 Bahrain residents every year for the past three years.

Over the same period, just five British police officers have been killed in the line of duty - or one officer for every 37.8 million British residents each year.

In the US, 374 US law enforcement officers have died over the past three years, but this equates to one officer per 2.494 million US residents each year - almost eight times lower than Bahrain's ratio.

MP Hassan Al Dossary, who on Tuesday instigated a parliamentary walkout in a show of respect to the three policemen killed the day before, told the GDN that it was important to remember the human faces behind the statistics.

"Policemen are human beings, they have human rights the same as anybody else," he said.

"We have to protect the police and respect the police - anybody who tries to hurt or kill a policeman, that person is injuring Bahrain."

Police have announced the arrests of 26 suspects in connection with last week's deadly bombing, which claimed the lives of officers Muhammad Arslan Ramzan, 22, from Pakistan, Tariq Al Shehhi, 41, from the UAE, and Ammar Abdu Ali Al Dhalei, 35, from Yemen.

Seven others were injured in the blast, while officers also suffered minor injuries when two other devices went off on the same day. A fourth device was defused before it could go off.

It took place just weeks after policeman Abdulwaheed Al Balooshi, a 29-year-old father-to-be, died from injuries he suffered in a series of bombings targeting police on February 14.

A radical opposition group calling itself the Popular Resistance Brigades claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, which happened a day after the government released a report stating explosive devices used by rioters in Bahrain were the same as those employed by insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Opposition supporters have been waging an ongoing campaign of violence against police, often blocking roads with debris and then hurling Molotov cocktails and firing projectiles at officers sent in to clear them.

In some cases these illegal roadblocks are booby-trapped with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that are detonated when police approach.

Prior to 2011 the last police officer to be killed in action was 24-year-old Majid Asghar Ali Baksh, whose patrol car was allegedly attacked with Molotov cocktails in an ambush near Karzakan on April 9, 2008. The 19 men accused of his murder were acquitted on October 13, 2009.

The government last week announced a plan to combat terrorism, including branding violent groups as terrorist movements, encouraging other countries to do the same, monitoring of political groups and religious clerics who incite violence and taking a zero-tolerance approach to those who break the law.

A relief fund set up to support families of policemen killed in the line of duty, The Royal Fund for Martyrs of Duty, was announced on Wednesday by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander.

It had an initial allocation of BD1 million ($2.6 million), but Batelco, Bahain Mumtalakat Holding Company and the National Bank of Bahrain have each pledged a further BD100,000 to the fund. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | rate | death | Police | duty | die |

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