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The enforcement of crime and virtue: Predictors of police and Mutaween encounters in a Saudi Arabian sample of youth

Annelise M. Pietenpol, Mark Alden Morgan, John Paul Wright, Nora F. Almosaed, Sameera S. Moghrabi and Fawzia S. Bashatah

Journal of Criminal Justice, 2018, vol. 59, issue C, 110-121

Abstract: Saudi Arabia has two types of police forces: general police and religious police, also known as the Mutaween. While the general police are tasked with investigating criminal matters and providing national security, the Mutaween specialize in enforcing the strict religious customs of Sharia law. This study explores the factors that predict both Mutaween and general police stops, as well as general police arrests among juveniles. Additionally, we examine whether the factors that influence Mutaween stops differ from those that affect general police stops. We find that respondents reporting higher levels of delinquency are more likely to be stopped by both forces and to be arrested. Comparatively, the factors that influence police decision-making in Saudi Arabia are analogous to those found in the Western world. There appears to be little difference in the proximal effects of police action, even in a nation that affords greater potential influence to authority, prejudice, and extralegal criteria. Moreover, the factors that influence Mutaween stops are not significantly different overall from those that result in general police stops. In a nation where religious laws are legal laws, both enforcement agencies appear to share similar objectives.

Keywords: Policing; Saudi Arabia; Juvenile delinquency; Police stops; Religious police (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:59:y:2018:i:c:p:110-121