Egypt’s Sisi plans to replace uneducated police conscripts

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Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi plans to overhaul the nation’s police and security forces.

Under a plan drafted by Sisi, uneducated conscripts will be replaced by applicants to the new “police assistant” grade who are trained in modern policing techniques, the Interior Ministry announced.

Egyptian police in Cairo's Tahrir Square. /EPA
Egyptian police in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. /EPA

Applicants for the new police assistant force must be between 19- and 23-years-old, must have preparatory school certificates, and will be subject to 18 months of training through “state-of-the-art policing programs” before appointment, according to the Youm7 independent newspaper.

The overhaul of the police and security forces comes amid criticism of police brutality and human rights violations by police of various ranks over recent months, but particularly those from the least educated section of the force.

The Interior Ministry said the “assistants” would gradually replace the lowest grade of policemen with the least training who are often accused of acts of violence against members of the public, including several assaults on doctors.

The issue came to a head in February when a policeman shot and killed a driver during a dispute in the Darb al-Ahmar neighborhood of Cairo. After that incident, Sisi ordered Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar to prepare legal amendments that would ensure more accountability for police violations against citizens.

Another incident in which two police officers assaulted two doctors at a hospital in Matareya, after the doctors refused to falsify medical records, sparked additional outrage in the community and an ongoing standoff between the Doctors’ Syndicate and the Interior Ministry.

Doctors have staged strikes and a number of protests condemning the incident in Matareya and several similar incidents.

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