John Timoney, a former police chief in Miami, who now advises the Bahraini police force, sat down with Steve Inskeep from NPR to discuss police force in Bahrain. Timoney made several good points in his interview highlighting the fact that peaceful protests in Bahrain take place often and hardly ever cause any problems. He says that when protesters engage in violent attack on police then stronger force becomes necessary.
Below are some of the key points that Timoney made during the interview, and if you are interested in reading the full transcript of the interview you can read it here.
INSKEEP: Now, Mr. Timoney, as you know, the Bahraini security forces have been criticized, fiercely – including by a commission that was setup by the government itself – for abusing protesters, for torturing people. How would you judge their performance in recent weeks?
TIMONEY: Well, I mean I observe them. And anybody who would like to observe them, you could go on YouTube and just bring up, night after night, the violent clashes. And you’ll see patrols, sometimes stationary patrols where police officers are in cars, just coming under attacks; not by one or two Molotov cocktails but with hundreds.
And so, it’s been a case where I think the restraint is on the part of the police forces, certainly since I’ve been here – I’ve been here since mid December – I think the restraint has been extraordinary.
TIMONEY: I would not be here if I wasn’t convinced from the Ministry of the Interior that these folks are serious about reform, looking at to get it right… And doing reform, even in reforming police departments, even the very stable – politically stable situation – is a daunting task.
Here, it’s night after night of troubles, and day after day of troubles. It really is a heavy lift. At the end of the day, there needs to be a display of leadership on both sides. That they get together, sit down at the table and then come up with some workable solution going forward, that, you know, gives everybody, you know, 80 to 90 percent of what they’re looking for. In a situation like that, then the reforms are much easier to implement.