The presence of female cops has been recently sensed in Egyptian streets in what is seen as a positive step towards restructuring the police force, one of the main demands of the Jan. 25 Revolution.
“Women are not new to the police force, but their numbers have increased after the revolution,” Brigadier General Ayman Helmy, head of the Media Division at the Ministry of Interior, told Al Arabiya.
Helmy explained that the performance of several female police officers has been outstanding.
“Many were promoted to Brigadier General after proving their efficiency and passing several tests.”
Helmy added that the women’s section in the Egyptian police force was established in 1984 by Abdul Karim Darwish, who was then head of the Police Academy.
“The main purpose of including women in the police was for them to work in government institutions that offer services to the public like the Civil Registry and the Traffic Department.”
This, he noted, changed after the Jan. 25 Revolution as women started taking part in maintaining law and order with their male counterparts.
Female cops were seen in a variety of occasions amongst which is guarding the women’s section in the mosques, where President Mohammed Mursi pray, and dispersing protestors demonstrating in front of one of Egypt’s private universities.
They are also present on daily basis in ladies-only carriages of the Cairo underground metro to make sure men do not go on board.
Women officers also play a major role in organizing traffic and arresting outlaws especially beggars and pickpockets they encounter while on duty.
According to journalist and activist Bothaina Kamel, women cops played an important role before the revolution.
“They used to protect women who took part in demonstrations from security forces that wanted to use brutal force. They kept yelling at them, ‘Stay away from the women,’” she said.
Women who graduate from other Egyptian colleges can join the Police Academy depending on their specialization. There is particularly high demand on the faculties of Law, Arts, Social Services, and Athletic Education.
The Ministry of Interior is now expanding the fields in which women are needed. These include public relations, airports security, juvenile detention centers and rehabilitation centers.
Senior female officers are in charge of training new female students at the Police Academy.