Saudi Arabia, for the first time, is planning to recruit women in its religious police ending a long-standing ban on hiring women, the police chief was quoted by Emirates 24/7 on Thursday.
According to the newspaper, women have been barred from joining the religious police called the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice – a department which has often triggered controversy because of its strict ways of dealing with people.
Police Chief Abdul Lateef al Shaikh told Okaz newspaper, “We now need women to work for the commission… Our vision is that they will work separately from men under the direct supervision of an autonomous division.”
He said that the women recruits would be deployed at places confined to females but did not specify when the plan would be implemented. He also said that the commission has taken this decision in line with King Abdullah’s instructions who “strongly believes in giving women their full rights”.
Earlier reports had claimed that Saudi Arabia will curb powers of the religious police, prohibiting them from standing at the entrances of shopping malls and banning them from carrying out searches without prior approval from the governor.