In this week’s online survey, Arab Times asked voters their opinion on how the ongoing police checks be made more humane and expatriate-friendly.
Two points won the most votes. 32 percent said that authorities must release a list of clearly stated do’s and don’ts to be observed by expatriates. Speaking to the Arab Times, respondents said that they are not sure of what to keep and what to avoid, as the list of violations are growing by the day by word of mouth.
The latest in the list of the big No’s are Net phones. “We knew that VOIP calls were banned, but even applications like Viber and Whatsapp seem to be prohibited now. This is causing a lot of confusion.”
Others were complaining about the traffic checks. “We are not sure of what are the things that are liable to fine.” There were loose stories of motorists getting a ticket because their car windows were not working.
Another 32 percent of the voters condemned the random raids at apartments. “We are living in fear with our families. We have children, and we don’t want cops to be coming into our houses at night and checking every nook and corner for illegal maids or bachelors sharing the flat.
All the respondents believed that the police had no authority to search a flat without a warrant. “We think that it is still the law, and we don’t know how the policemen are searching houses randomly.”
Respondents said it looks like the policemen have been given secret orders to carry on such searches as issuing a warrant for every dubious flat could be practically impossible. “We know it’s fine balancing act to do; however, there’s no justification for harassing innocent, law-abiding expatriates for a few residence violators.”
Fourteen percent of the voters felt that expatriates must be given the right to complain against policemen who cross their limits. However, many respondents noted that this is easier said than done. “This right is already there. But the problem lies in their application.”
Many respondents felt that they distrust the authorities to act on their complaints, and a sizeable number even feared that they might get victimized in the bargain. “We don’t have the courage to complain against a policeman.’
Some people stressed on the need for a higher authority that is set up exclusively to defend the rights and interests of expatriates. “Such a body would infuse confidence in us to complain against excesses committed by policemen.”
About 13 percent of the voters suggested the need for capturing every police operation on camera to ensure that everything is fair and square. “This is the norm in most developed countries. When there’s video footage which can be provided as evidence in court, the officers will be more conscious of their responsibilities and limits.”
Eight percent said that vehicles with proper drafters (registration cards), which is proof that the vehicle have passed the fitness test, must not be subject to further tests, such as smoke detection and so forth.