From colonial policing to community policing in Bahrain: the historical persistence of sectarianism
This paper focuses on the history of policing in the Kingdom of Bahrain, a small Arab, Muslim country. The historical discourse about Bahraini policing, though scant, has not adequately confronted the role the police have had in protecting Sunni hegemony in majority Shiah majority nation, a residual feature of colonialism. Through colonial records, press accounts, and Bahraini historical sources, the importance of sectarian politics in the development of Bahraini policing emerges. By drawing on conflict criminology and paying attention to the relevant cultural processes, a new approach to understanding policing in Bahrain, and the Gulf region, emerges. The analysis suggests that although Bahrain police force has liberalized in recent years by developing a community policing unit, disapproval and unrest by Bahraini Shiah remains a significant social and political problem.
By Staci Strobl
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York
International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice, Vol 35, No. 1, February 2011, pp 19-37