The concept of a modern police force is relatively new to Oman. Hardly 30 years, ago, no internal security force existed in the country: Security was the responsibility If of the local walis who carried it out with the help of local "Askars". The police presence was limited to the township of Muscat and Muttrah.
All this changed in 1970 when His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said came to power. Very soon, the country saw the establishment of a highly competent and trained police force, now regarded as one of the best in the region.
In 1974, His Majesty conferred the title Royal Oman Police (ROP) on the newly formed force. In November that year, ROP received its colours from His Majesty the Sultan. The next year, the sprawling ROP headquarters was inaugurated in Qurum.
The year 1980 marked another major milestone in the history of ROP when His Majesty opened the Police Academy near Nizwa, recently renamed as the Sultan Qaboos Academy for Police Sciences. In January 1988, His Majesty the Sultan presented the Academy with its special colours.
TASKS & DUTIES
The main responsibility of ROP is to maintain law and order throughout the country, protect people's lives and property and prevent and investigate crimes. It is also in charge of road traffic, civil defence, customs, immigration and prison, and carrying out court sentences.
It has also been entrusted with the task of safeguarding the security of civil airports and other vital installations in the country, protecting VIPs and Embassies, looking after Oman's territorial waters and guarding land borders together with other concerned departments.
Strategy adopted to achieve goals
The ROP emphasis on manpower development and training and on meticulous planning to protect the society from crime. Equal emphasis is placed on encouraging the public to help and co-operate with police by reporting crimes and other incidents. A vigorous and comprehensive public awareness programmes is crucial element in this strategy.
ROP also makes use of the latest technology in carrying out its duties and continuously updates administrative proceduress. Through many police station set up in different towns and villages. ROP strives to provide the best services to the public and works hard to keep its relations with citizens close and strong. It also constantly liaises with other government departments and the private sector in its drive to achieve this goal.
Apart from the administrative and crime-prevention duties, ROP also shoulders a social responsibility by taking an active part in social development projects and rescue operations. Its Coastguard Division has on several occasion rushed to the rescue of people in distress at sea.
The Sultanate is divided administratively by Royal Decree (114 \ 2011), into governorates. These are the following:
- Muscat Governorate
- Dhofar Governorate
- Musandam Governorate
- Al Buraimi Governorate
- A' Dakiliyah Governorate
- Al Batinah North Governorate
- Al Batinah South Governorate
- Al Sharqiyah South Governorate
- A'Sharqiyah North Governorate
- A' Dahirah Governorate
- Al Wusta Governorate
Accordingly, the ROP organizational structure was amended by creating (Regional Police Headquarters) as follows:
- Muscat Governorate Police Headquarter
- Dhofar Governorate Police Headquarter
- Musandam Governorate Police Headquarter
- Al Batinah Governorate North Police Headquarter
- Al Batinah Governorate South Police Headquarter
- A'Dakiliyah Governorate Police Headquarter
- A'Sharqiyah Governorate North Police Headquarter
- A'Sharqiyah Governorate South Police Headquarter
- A'Dahirah Governorate Police Headquarter
- Al Wusta Governorate Police Headquarter
- Al Buraimi Governorate Police Headquarter
Every Police Command headquarters supervises a number of police stations and smaller stations or posts which altogether provide police service throughout the country. In addition, there are other Police Headquarters:
- Special Task Force Police Headquarter
- Coast Guard Police Headquarter
- Oil and Gas Installations Security Police Headquarter
The Directorates General as well as other similar units such as the Police Academy are part of the organizational levels in ROP. Some of these formations are responsible for providing their service to the public (such as the Directorate General of Traffic, the Directorate General of Passports and Residences ) and the (Directorate General of Customs). Some, however, are restricted to providing services to ROP only. These include the (Directorate General of Maintenance and Projects, the Directorate General of Human Resources and the (Directorate General of Police Transport). Each directorate general has a number of (Directorates) according to the requirements of work and the division of responsibilities.
The following formations are also considered among the category of (General Directorates): -
- Directorate General of Human Resources
- Directorate General of Operations
- Directorate General of Inquiries and Criminal Investigations
- Directorate General of Passport and Residences
- Directorate General of Customs
- Directorate General of Traffic
- Directorate General of Civil Defense
- Sultan Qaboos Academy for Police Sciences
- Directorate General of Transport
- Directorate General of Projects and Maintenance
- Directorate General of Development and Scrutiny
- Directorate General of Airport Security
- Directorate General of Financial Affairs
- Directorate General of Prisons
- Directorate General of Logistics and Supplies
- Directorate General of Information Technology
- Directorate General of Police Aviation
- Directorate General of Civil Status
- Directorate General of Medical Services
The following formations are considered among the category of (Specialized Directorates): -
- Directorate of Public Relation
- Directorate of Legal Affairs
- Directorate of Police Music
- Directorate of Police Clubs
- Directorate of Communication
- Royal Oman PoliceSports Association
- The Executive Office of the National Committee for Civil Defence
The following formations are considered among the category of (Specialized Divisions): -
- Mounted Police Division
- Special Security Police Division
- Ambulance Division
- Juvenile Police Division
- Financial Inquiries Division
SPECIAL TASK FORCE
The Special Task Force guards and protects important personalities, national vital facilities, embassies, diplomatic missions and VIP's. It deals with explosives and de-activating them. It also issues permits for transporting, storage and use of commercial explosives.
The Special Task Force Division operates the Rescue Police patrols to react promptly for any urgent call for help. This division is considered a Police Reserve Force that is properly equipped and qualified to support the different Police headquarters in the Sultanate when the need arises.
The Sultanate is in the forefront of the countries that admit and utilize women in their police force. Since its inception, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) realized the Omani women's role in the society as a whole, and the need for them to play a similar role in the organization. Therefore, two ladies were recruited in the force in early 1972 for searching female passengers at Oman's former airport of Beit Al Falaj. In the same year, another group of women was employed. Some of them were assigned to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to deal with females involved in crimes or witness in courts. Others were assigned to the Directorate of Prisons for the same purpose.
In 1974, the first detachment of policewomen was recruited. Like the male recruits, those 17 girls received their proper police training at the former Police Training School. Throughout the years, the number of policewomen increased, and some of them have even reached the ranks of officers.
Today, the Omani policewomen, who stand for modernity and civilization, play a prominent role in different aspects of police work and sections, especially those which are suitable for women