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History of Police in the Kingdom of Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain has been known down the ages as a safe and secure nation and it has maintained this reputation throughout history.

The police in Bahrain is considered the central to the maintenance of security.

More than 140 years have passed since its establishment; it was formed in 1869 by Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, the Ruler of Bahrain at the time. Patrols of guards called ‘Afdawiya’, meaning the Shaikh’s Guards, were introduced to maintain security and order. They were mainly stationed in Manama and Muharraq and the prince of Afdawiya headed each group.

The formation of Manama Municipality in 1919

Bahrain set up its first administrative organisations in 1919 with the establishment of Manama Municipality. Historical documents show that the municipality was also looking after security affairs and performed some of the police duties.

The name of Afdawiya was changed to Natoor “guard” in the second phase of police history.

The first batch of these guards was subsequently brought udner the Training and Operations Directorate and this continued until 1930 when the first law to regulate police was passed and the directorate renamed the Bahrain Police Directorate.

Four members of the Royal Family commanded the police with their wisdom and capabilities. Shaikh Khalifa bin Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa was appointed Police and Public Security Chief in 1937 and he was responsible for reorganising the police system and introducing the laws that led to the development of the force.

In the late 1930s, the Mounted Police Section was created. It is the oldest section in the police system and was responsible for protecting the northern and western coastline, in addition to being involved in parades during national occasions. The Mounted Police Section was developed into a section known as “Al Hajana” which patrolled along the coast and guarded oil installations.

The 1940s witnessed the formation of guards for the coastline, known today as the Coast Guard.

In 1961, His Royal Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa was appointed Chief of Police and Public Security and contributed in the establishment of a new and important security management system after studying security sciences while in the UK.

In 1971, the name of the Bahrain Police Directorate was changed to the Ministry of Interior and the Police System changed to Public Security. His Excellency Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa was appointed Minister of Interior before the independence of Bahrain. This phase is considered as the new phase in the history of security work that led to many achievements in the security field.

In 2004, His Excellency Lieutenant-General Shaikh Rashid in Abdullah Al Khalifa was appointed Minister of Interior. He has since actively contributed in the development of the Ministry in various fields, including the security department. Focus then started on human resource development with the introduction of specialised courses and the integration of the latest technology, leading to excellence and the improvement of efficiency.