Police powers, legal rights and pre-trial procedures in Saudi Arabia : a comparison with England and Wales
The exercise of police powers is subject to rules and guidelines, and the event of police powers has occasioned considerable controversy since the inception of the 'new police'. On the one hand, the police clearly need powers to stop people on the street if they are suspected of a crime, to enter people's houses if they suspect that they are hiding stolen goods or firearms and to arrest people they suspect of a crime. They need to be able to interview suspects in the police station and may have to hold suspects in cells. On the other hand, individual citizens need to be able to carry on with their everyday lives without risking being stopped on the streets, having their homes ransacked by the police and being arrested and taken to the police station. Suspects must be protected from torture, brutality and the extraction of false confessions. Special protection may be afforded to vulnerable groups such as the young and mentally ill. Legislation on police powers, therefore, must balance conflicting needs. Saudi Arabia the Stop, Arrest, Detention and Custody Regulation (SADC) was set up in 1983. The regulation provided powers relating to stop and search, arrest, detention. interviewing, and the investigation of crimes It seeks to protect suspects from the abuse of such powers by granting to suspects certain rights and protections. In practice, however, the balance between the use of the powers and suspects' rights is different. The police appear to exceed their powers as they provided and the safeguards are ignored. Therefore, the question is, how do the pre-trial procedures work in practice? No research has been done to examine the pre-trial process in practice in Saudi Arabia. Data collection for the study as carried out using three methods: questionnaire, observation and documentary data from police files. In this research variations have been found between the official regulation and actual police practice.