Outsourcing Public Security

24 Jul, '06


I am exasperated, as I am sure many Bahrainis are, at the laughable state of what we call “Public Security!” That is the definition of oxymoron if there ever was one.

In other societies, when one has a problem they would go to the police first, and never think of taking the law into their own hands, while in Bahrain, people are encouraged to do just that! In effect, our so called Public Security seems to make an art of “outsourcing” this task back to us citizens and residents.

They might as well hang a big sign at the entrance of every police station which should say:


This has happened over several incidents where I took it upon myself to go and complain about silly, and not so silly things. All I got was do the paperwork and never disturb us again. Forget about follow-up.

Our maid decided to do a bunk last night. We immediately called the police and were informed that “it’s too late now (it was around 7pm) and we should come back tomorrow morning to lodge the complaint.”

Fine. Would you just note that we actually called you, just in case? “No need.”


We go to the police station this morning armed with all the papers that we thought they would require. They simply asked us if we believed that she stole anything from us. We said, so far we don’t think so. Their answer? “It’s not our problem. Go to the Minister of Labour!”

Huh? What the bloody hell for? This is a person whom I have sponsored to come to this country and work. I paid her recruitment charges, I pay her as per her contract, she has only worked for us for a year and there is another year in her contract, she is treated well, she is given bonuses whenever we see that she has done a job well, she eats and drinks the same food and drink as we do, she keeps her own CPR and other papers, she is given days off, she is allowed to go out of the house, but she decided to leave our employ. Fine. This is her right and we have no real complaints about this, in a free job market, she is free to go and find another job if she likes; the proviso is; however, that the employee should give the employer sufficient notice as per contract. She hadn’t. She just decided to go.

It is useless to complain to these morons.. and if this is the law, then the law should be respected, but definitely CHANGED (are you listening MPs?)?

We go to the Misery of Labour this morning at which we discovered their demands:

    1. Pay BD 100.
      Why? “Just in case she is caught then this will be used to buy her a ticket back home!” WHAT?
    2. Copy of her passport and Central Population Registry (CPR) card.
    3. Sponsor’s CPR.
    4. Latest electricity bill!
      WHAT? To ensure that the house address is correct (and why don’t they trust what’s in the CPR card, is anyone’s guess.)

Okay.. and then what?


What the hell am I supposed to do? Do they want me to hire a posse to go after her myself, apprehend her, tie and truss her up, and physically take her to the police station so that she would be thrown on the first boat out?

And what the hell are we supposed to have done to prevent her from leaving the house? Lock her up? Keep her papers? Use a ball and chain? Beat the shit out of her? Abuse her? What exactly do they expect from us to do and what has the Misery of Labour got to do with this?

What the hell is the police’s role in this country then? Beating up protesters? Fighting “terrorism?” What IS their role for God’s sake, someone tell me!


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Comments (33)

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  1. LiB Team says:

    Well said, Mahmood.

    That’s why you need one of those Sc777 Baseball bats. It seems that I will be making loads of money selling this stuff maybe I should consider opening an agency for it!

    Seriously tho, I, as you, am baffled by what the police’s role is in this country, cuz any complaint you take to them, they refer you to another department/ministry and then get ping-ponged back and forth until you lose your temper and have NO alternative whatsoever but to take matters into your own hands, which then you will get arrested for breaking the law. What the hell?

  2. F says:

    It is a sad state of affairs when it comes to dealing with various
    ministries. Each ministry needs to setup an advisory body that
    has two specific jobs:-

    1) Study the latest developments around the world in its affairs.
    2) Process of implementing them in the shortest period of time.

    On another note, my condolences on your loss. May Allah grant
    him Heaven and may He look over family and loved ones at all times.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I think you should put a ‘Run Away’ ad in all the papers!

  4. mahmood says:

    Wait, I’m sure it’ll get to that, that – I thought – was a requirement of one government department or another…

  5. Alfie says:

    Mahmood, I can understand the frustrations you went through with the “pubic Security”. When I was in Bahrain, our car was stolen once, and someone told us to go to the Gudabiya Police station, to complain. We were just crossing the zebra crossing to get over to the station, when i noticed my car, tried to stop it but it drove into an alley, almost killing me.

    We rushed to the station told the officer there, we just saw the car right in front of the station, infact the sentry on guard duty saw the whole damn thing. And the F#@&^*$#@ tells us its not in our jurisdiction, stolen cars are handled by the Exhibition Road Police station. We cant do anything about it. We ask them could they atleast put a word out and have a lookout for the car, before it gets far. They tell us to speak to the Exhibition Road police station.

    Next we go to the Exhibition Road, and they tell us – ”When you find the car let us know and we will come and dust for prints!!”. WTF!!!

    Oh by the way the car was initially stolen from in front of Police Fort, so much for “Public Security”

  6. Ash says:

    That’s a very strange system Bahrain is operating. While I’ve no doubt that you, Mahmood, would be a fantastic employer to work for, the system itself sounds as if it would be wide open to abuse by more unpleasant employers. Is it really the case, as your piece implies, that an employer can actually forbid a sponsored immigrant employee from going outside in their free time?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The police is not for the public security, it is only for Al-Khaleefa security. This is why you hardly find a native Bahraini working in this sector.

  8. mahmood says:

    Ash, yes and more. Legally, judging by my experience, they could be treated as slaves. How else can you do anything else if an employer is held responsible for his employees in this manner? The employer/sponsor is responsible even for the morals of his employees, I can now fully understand why all employers hold their employees’ passports and forbid them from going out for whatever reason.

    This is what you get when the State outsources security to the individual.

    Anon: bullshit. Generalisations like this will get you more of the same response.

  9. Bubz says:

    Housemaid abuse is actually quite rampant here.

    And while it’s not justified by any means – it’s understandable given what you mentioned above, Mahmood. Similar things happen quite often, where the employer is left to take matters into their own hands to resolve the issue of a runaway housemaid or worker.

    Some, after being frustrated by the authorities and being held responsible for the employee behaviour and morals, and being forced to continue to pay the ‘salary’ – people usually take the prevention route (the locking up, the passport seizing etc). Others are just arseholes that treat their housemaids like animals – you’d be surprised at the depth of this kind of abuse here in Bahrain and in neighbouring countries. It’s sickening. Theres something along the same lines in the GDN today too about some guy raping his brothers housemaid twice. Luckily he was Bahraini and made bail for just BD100. And now she is being pushed by the family to take back the rape case and admit that it was consensual sex. I don’t know what it was – maybe she is lying.. it’s quite possible – but something tells me that she isn’t. Maybe having run into too many similar cases of sexual abuse has done that to me. Who knows…

    Maybe the family should just kill her – after all, killing an expatriate in the past has just cost a Bahraini somewhere between BD60 to BD100. =)

    That being said, even though we have had problems of this sort before we have never resorted to locking up the women that work (quite hard) for us, and allow them the freedom they need to live as people and not slaves in this society.


  10. Bubz says:

    Note: The “Maybe the family..” paragraph should have been placed between *Sarcasm* */Sarcasm*.


  11. eganski says:

    Electricity bills give them all kinds of important information right? Like how many lights they have turned on? That’s ridiculous. Sounds like the Detroit DMV.

  12. Ash says:

    Ohhhhkay … I’ll cancel my career plan to become a Bahraini housemaid in this case and stick to jousting and archery.

  13. milter says:


    Maybe this link will make you forget all about a future as a housemaid in Bahrain.

    And I can assure you, working as a male Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi isn’t much of a pleasure either.

  14. Yohay Elam says:

    It isn’t very different in Israel. Also here, the police don’t really care. It has to be a serious crime for them to do anything…

  15. Lisa says:

    Makes me thank my lucky red, white and blue stars for illegal immigration. 😉

  16. West Riffa says:

    I had guys on 4 wheelers skidding and doing wheelies!! .. It got to a point where they almost hit children playing near our house… and guess what??? A public security Land Cruiser was witnessing this and just driving by… so I decided to run after them … stop them and ask them why they aren’t doing anything so they told me this is not our job it is the job of the Traffic Department. So I insisted that this was public endangerment and that they had to stop them. Luckily for me they drove by them lowered the window said a few words, and the guys on the 4 wheelers just laughed did a few stunts and continued what they were doing!!!!!!!

    So I decided to call the Traffic department … what did they do??? well they said ahhh these guys, we get a lot of complaints from people on your block we can’t seem to catch them!!! … but hey why don’t you write a letter!!!! … and I thought a letter, your kidding me … I’ve got morons who are noisy, skidding, racing on public streets infront of the Public Security Jeeps and you want a stupid letter….

    So I cut to the chase, and asked them if … IF you catch these guys what will you do… He said hold their bikes for a while… and take a “Ta3ahud” or a promise note from them that they will not do it again, and return their bikes… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And what was the last piece of advice,……..

    “Why don’t you try talking, persuading them to stop bothering you?”

    So, suffice it to say its summer now, and way to hot for them to be messing around but if you ever hear of unfortunte incident that occured because some idiots were driving around in 4 wheel bikes (unlicensed ofcourse) ….. You’ll know why!

  17. Peace Mahmoud, this is my first visit to your site. Can I just say…..What!? I’m flumoxxed! A person cannot just quit a job and take off??? Runaway maid??? Employers are responsible for the actions of their employees????

    When you say get rid of this parliament, do you have in mind getting rid of these laws??? Or getting rid of the idiots that think this sort of thing makes sense???

    I’ve certainly heard of what Bubz spoke of, but I had no idea of the way that the absolute stupidity of those laws create an environment that encourages abuse, rape, and murder.

    God, honest, I’m done complaining about how bad Hilary Clinton is doing handling upstate New York issues. Wow, count your blessings indeed. And I thought the US was sick racist and awful to migrant workers. We are! But wow, this is quite something. Kafka was surely anticipating Bahrain.

    Come and visit our big blog and website and be equally flummoxed by us, it is the least I can do.

    Sincerely flummoxed,


  18. tooners says:

    Mahmood, I feel for you!! We had a really bad time w/ our last housemaid, but thankfully she didn’t run away. I can’t imagine having to go thru all the channels that you have to go thru and still get nowhere.

    I can’t stand the housemaid situation in this country. We did the same for our housemaid, but she did steal from us… actually she was doing all sorts of things, come to find out after the fact.

    Good luck to you on this.

  19. mahmood says:

    I’m installing video surveillance cameras in my house… I might as well get a good show out of their shenanigans!

  20. Bubz says:

    Seen those ‘Housemaid beats baby’ videos that are floating around?

  21. mahmood says:

    Yeah, I’m glad that my wife has never trusted any maid with our children. Maids are there to only clean the house and iron clothes, not cooking or babysitting or anything else.

  22. tooners says:

    Mahmood, I couldn’t agree more with what you say! I see so many women allowing these housemaids to take care of their children… my SILs do it, but I will never allow that. You don’t know where these women come from, what type of life they had… nothing. No one should allow their babies and children to be raised by these women… ever.

    And I agree with you, they shouldn’t cook!! I don’t believe in that either.

    We installed a video camera before we left on holiday. My hubby didn’t think she was smart enough to know, but we found out, from the guy who was watching our house, that she knew it was a camera. She wanted to know how many we had in the house! I wish we had been smart enough to buy many…

    It’s a good choice on your part, that’s for sure!

  23. domesticated says:

    Swept Under the Rug:
    Abuses against Domestic Workers Around the World


  24. Ibn says:

    Sorry Mahmood, I need to do some testing to get the knack of HTML


  25. Ibn says:


    Im trying some HTML commands here, but they do not seem to be working.
    How do you create a link named “cnn”, for the page http://www.cnn.com for example?

    One more thing – how to make a link to a post that you have made yourself? I ask because some people dont read what I have said in the discussions and I have to refer them back to one of my previous posts, so Im trying to make it easier for them, instead of simply quoting what I have said over agian.



  26. Sunrunner says:

    Hi Ibn:

    I tried to write an example of the the code here but, it was automatically converted to a link, so I found Dave’s Site!

    Just do it like he says and it will work! If the code is working properly it will show up in Mahmood’s nifty preview (down below).

    To link back to your old comments, copy the link location from the date-time, eg, for this comment the link is http://mahmood.tv/?p=2631#comment-31787.

  27. mahmood says:

    No problem, I’ve got to update the help page with these commands and maybe even find a proper BBCode plugin to ease formatting.

    As an individual registered member, you could switch on the “rich text editor” in your preferences, and that would be an awful lot easier than remembering commands.

    To answer your questions:

    1. To create a link, you would use standard HTML format:

      To link a story on cnn.com/story/interestingstory.html on the phrase “interesting story”, you would:

      <a href=”http://cnn.com/story/interestingstory.html”>interesting story</a>

    2. To link to any comment, you would go to the time that comment was published at, right click on the date and time, and “copy link” and past it as shown above; for instance, to link “I’ve already addressed that point” to the actual comment, you would:

      <a href=”http://mahmood.tv/?p=2631#comment-31787″>I’ve already addressed that point</a>

    I’ll add these to the help page. Let me know if you need any more help.

  28. mahmood says:

    Excellent Sunrunner! Thanks.. I hope to have time off tomorrow to put up a help page with all these commands, and research ways to make them a bit easier.

  29. Sunrunner says:

    Mahmood, you must have a secret backroom way of turning off the html code on your won comments! I tried to do what you did, but the a href part dissapeared!

  30. mahmood says:

    nah, just a trick that I’m going to share with you:

    if you use the less-than and greater-than signs, the system will interpret what’s within them as commands and if it doesn’t understand them, they will just be disregarded and not rendered.

    So what I do is use the code for these symbols rather than the symbols themselves!

    < is written in long hand as "&gt;" and the > is written as “&lt;”

    So: <ducking> would be written as &lt;ducking&gt;


  31. Sunrunner says:

    Now that is a clever trick that I has now been added to my little bag!


  32. mahmood says:

    The Help page has been updated, please peruse it, and if you want anything else added to it, please request it and I shall get it done.

  33. Ibn says:

    Mahmood, Sunrunner,

    Thank you two very much! 🙂

    Forgive me while I try to learn those HTML commands here for a while…:
    WARNING: This could get ugly… 😛

    This is CNN

    woohoo! Ok…first try is good!..

    Ok lets see…

    To link to what “tooners” said…

    Tooners said this


    Thanks again guys!


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