Bahrain to play key role in combating drugs
Manama, April 3, 2012
Bahrain’s Interior Ministry has assigned several special co-ordination officers to work in a regional database created to aid criminal investigations into drug trafficking, said a top official.
"The database will help issue statistics and studies related to narcotics in the region that will help decision makers in formulating policies," said ministry anti-narcotics director Major Mubarak Abdulla Bin Huwail.
He said Bahraini staff would work at the Qatar-based Gulf Criminal Information Centre to Combat Drugs (GCC-CICCD), which is one of the major criminology centres in the Middle East.
"Since its establishment two years ago to combat drug trafficking and conduct studies, it is now in the process of setting up a central database that will evaluate efficiency of each Gulf state."
In February, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime software was installed in the database to support operational functions of the GCC-CICCD.
Bin Huwail was speaking on the sidelines of the 26th GCC Narcotics Combating Committee meeting, which opened at the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel yesterday. The three-day event is being attended by a delegation from each six GCC countries.
The session was chaired by committee head from Saudi Arabia, Major-General Othman bin Nasser Al Mahri, who in his opening remarks stressed GCC co-operation to unify their efforts to tackle drug abuse in society.
Interior Ministry Chief of Public Security Major-General Tariq Al Hassan stressed Bahrain's achievements in tackling the crime through community partnerships.
"Civil societies play a vital role in creating a culture that rejects drugs in all GCC societies," he said.
"Bahrain has been at the forefront through its active national campaigns to combat drugs and its addictions. We do depend on international co-operation for the borders to deal with narcotic cases."
Al Hassan said sophisticated technology was being used to track down drug smugglers. "Of course, we adopt latest technology and also train our personnel especially in customs with international agencies to the highest international standards," he said.
"But the bigger role played is by educating people especially youth, when it comes to narcotics demand."
According to the latest International Narcotics Control Board report, Bahrain has the highest rate of drug-related deaths in the Arabian Peninsula (44.3 per million) with heroin as the most common opiate abused.
160 arrests during this year
A total of 160 people have been arrested for drug related offences this year, according to the latest figures.
The Interior Ministry had detained 84 Bahrainis, 60 GCC nationals, three Arabs and 13 foreigners up until February. Of the drug-related offences recorded, 63 were at the King Fahad Causeway, 12 at Bahrain International Airport, one at a maritime port and 53 elsewhere.
Last year a total of 445 Bahrainis, 278 GCC nationals, 21 Arabs and 51 foreigners were arrested for drug offences. Three people have already died due to drug overdose in Bahrain this year.
Last year illegal substances claimed the lives of 28 victims, up from 14 in 2010. – TradeArabia News Service