|16 January, 2020

Bahrain sees major fall in crime rates

This drop of 7.5% has been attributed to a number of factors, including swift action by authorities and increased co-operation from the community

Image used for illustrative purpose. Police vehicles are parked outside the Al A'ali Grand Mosque where joint Sunni and Shi'ites prayers are to be held to show solidarity and co-existence between the two sects of Islam, ahead of Friday prayers in Al A'ali south of Manama, July 3, 2015.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Police vehicles are parked outside the Al A'ali Grand Mosque where joint Sunni and Shi'ites prayers are to be held to show solidarity and co-existence between the two sects of Islam, ahead of Friday prayers in Al A'ali south of Manama, July 3, 2015.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Bahrain - Criminal cases including terrorism, murder and drugs have dramatically dropped in the last year.Such cases investigated by the country’s Public Prosecution reached 79,348 last year compared to 85,807 cases in 2018.

This drop of 7.5 per cent has been attributed to a number of factors, including swift action by authorities and increased co-operation from the community.

Details of the cases were revealed yesterday by Attorney General Dr Ali Al Buainain at a Press briefing held at the Public Prosecution’s headquarters in the Diplomatic Area, in the presence Advocate General Osama Al Oufi.

“Combined efforts in the community have helped reduce the number of criminal cases in the country,” Dr Al Buainain told the GDN.

“This saw the number of criminal cases drop by 7.5pc, while specifically theft cases reduced by 10pc and drug related cases dropped by 7pc.

“These percentages are not small and show the continuous efforts in battling crime.“All parties including the Interior Ministry, Public Prosecution, religious clerics, schools and courts helped in tackling crime and raising awareness amongst the community.“The strong co-operation between all parties in society to fight crime helps build a strong wall against crimes.”

According to the statistics, the number of drug related cases reduced by 10pc, down to 7,435 cases last year from 8,226 in 2018.

Dr Al Buainain also revealed that traffic cases reduced by 90pc in the last year, from 92,351 in 2018 to just 9,426 cases in 2019.“Most of the traffic cases that spent six months in court are now being resolved within 24 hours at the Public Prosecution,” he added.

“Around 99.9pc of the time the parties agree on everything and we settle the case at the Public Prosecution.”

Criminal cases identified as misdemeanour reached 50,171 last year compared with 45,664 in 2018, while the more serious felony cases totalled 1,695, down from 2,293 in 2018.There were also a reduction in juvenile cases filed at the Family and Child Prosecution, with 1,399 cases registered last year compared to 1,677 in 2018.

The total number of juvenile suspects reached 245 and juvenile victims were 486 last year.In addition, husbands were identified as suspects in 1,046 cases related to domestic violence charges, which is more than double the cases in which women were charged as suspects (447 cases).

Dr Al Buainain said prosecutors lodged appeals against 162 criminal verdicts in misdemeanour and felony cases, winning 39 of them and losing 77 with 46 appeals still ongoing.The Public Prosecution also won four appeals lodged at the Cassation Court, while another 13 are still ongoing.

During the Press briefing, Dr Al Buainain said that around BD1.9 million was collected as bail money by Bahrain’s courts and around BD7.1m in fines last year.He said the Public Prosecution also received 572 requests from lawyers and 241 from the public through its online services.He added that future conferences and workshops about the e-services will help increase the number of people sending online requests.

Meanwhile, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which was set up in 2012 to investigate allegations of police misconduct, registered 80 complaints last year compared to 102 complaints in 2018. Out of those, 41 per cent were related to torture and 59pc to mistreatment including verbal mistreatment.That was a further reduction from 136 complaints in 2017 and 234 complaints in 2016.

In addition, 16 cases related to corruption were sent to the courts.Meanwhile, Dr Al Buainain also praised the Alternative Punishments Law in greatly benefiting the local community.He said of the 1,713 inmates who received non-custodial sentences, 1,495 were men, 137 were women and 81 were juveniles.

A total of 1,173 were given community service, 574 attended rehabilitation and training workshops, 376 were banned from specific locations, 235 agreed to not come into contact with their victims, 128 fixed the damage they caused and one inmate wore an electronic bracelet.“We are dealing with the Alternative Punishments Law daily and those who receive it are monitored by the Interior Ministry, with a report compiled about their behaviour from their supervisor,” he explained.

“They will return to jail if they breach the terms and conditions of their new sentence.“We had an example of someone not doing his community service and we sent his case to the judge enforcing the punishment and he was returned to jail.“The (aim of this) is to help those who are convicted return to the community – if he is released instead of being behind bars he can take part in community service.

“The country will benefit from his service, his family will benefit instead of the family falling apart, and the convict will benefit and learn new skills.”The law came into effect at the start of 2018 following directives issued by His Majesty King Hamad to expand alternative punishments taking into account the human plight and personal and family circumstances of the convicts.

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