Expats in Kuwait admire police but avoid police stations

Published:  16 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Citizenship
In their dealings with expats, Kuwaiti police are suspected of having two faces – one positive and the other bordering on the negative.

Expats living and working in Kuwait have nothing but praise for their local police, usually for their positive reactions to problems occurring outside the confines of their local station. However, the reverse is true when foreigners need to visit a police station to report a crime, an accident or a stolen driving license.

Kuwaiti police are sworn to protect their local community irrespective of race, and are generally admired by expats for their dedication to duty and their positive reactions to issues arising whilst they’re on the beat. They’re respected for their help for motorists in trouble on Kuwait’s crowded roads and are especially helpful to women drivers. One expat reports he saw a local policeman saving a cat attempting to cross a busy road, and another was seen helping a disabled man negotiate a pedestrian bridge.

Sadly, it’s another matter if expats need to visit their local police station. It seems foreigners are often ignored or told to come back the following day, even if a crime is being reported. One foreign professional found himself involved in a minor traffic shunt and was told by police officers to follow them back to the local police station. Once there, he waited for two hours before being told to come back later as the officers preparing the report were busy having tea with their friends.

Another instance involved the deflating by a neighbour of an expat-owned car’s tyres on at least five occasions over two weeks. The victim was advised to report the matter to the local police station, but declined, saying he’d rather keep the matter quiet. Expats give many reasons why they’d prefer to stay clear of police stations in general, with miscommunication due to language difficulties often quoted. One was told he should only use the Arab language when speaking to a police officer, and should remember he’s living in an Arab country.

For law-abiding expats and citizens, visiting a police station shouldn’t be a cause for concern, but most expats are aware they’re likely to have major problems getting an officer to even listen, whether they’re attempting to deal with a motoring issue or reporting of a crime. Most simply give up and leave issues unsolved and crimes unreported.
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