History Of The Egyptian Police
Egypt police Sicne Mohamed Ali times
Although many people think that Mohamed Ali established the police system in Egypt at the beginning of the 19th century (when he massacred the Mamluks, took control of the whole country, and founded modern Egypt), history proves that Egyptian police existed for many centuries before Mohamed Ali.
Egypt has had some form of a police system since the beginning of the Old Kingdom of the Pharaonic era. When King Menes, in some stories called Narmer, unified Northern and Southern Egypt, the need for having a system to regulate the process of dividing the water of the River Nile among the Egyptian peasants appeared.
Application of the Law in Ancient Egypt
Any society has regulations that its members agree to follow to coexist. Every culture has had some law that states that having a good relationship with your family, town, or group surpasses satisfying individual needs. If someone acts on these wants at the cost of others, they will face the consequences. In old Egypt, the principal power that regulated conduct was the most critical value of the whole culture: ma'at (harmony and equilibrium). Ma'at, symbolized as a goddess, was present since the creation of the universe and was the component that allowed everything to work as intended in agreement with the divine plan. The ancient Egyptians thought that if one abided by this principle, they would have a peaceful life and be assured of entering paradise in the afterlife.
As is typical of human nature, there were many cases where someone would prioritize their desires above those of others. Hence, the Egyptians created more precise laws than simply encouraging people to be moderate and considerate. Enforcement of these regulations was impossible, so they created the policeman's role to ensure they were followed.
Eventually, the Head of the Police became one of the most critical positions in ancient Egypt, and he was always chosen with special care by only the king himself.
Responsibilities Of The Ancient Egyptian Police
Among the most critical tasks that were added to the missions of the ancient Egyptian police was to protect the tombs and burial places of the royal family and the king. Ironically, this was the same mission that the Egyptian antiquity's policies do today, but, of course, with different tools and methods. Among the most significant achievements of the police of ancient Egypt that was recorded in history was during the New Kingdom when the head of the police, called "Semho," was able to protect King Tutankhamun against a conspiracy to assassinate him in the first age of his reign.
The relationship between the Egyptian police and the Egyptian people was always friendly, as the people knew the police officers were assigned to protect them and their belongings. This idea was clearly described in the ancient Egyptian manuscript when a letter that a father had sent to his son during the period of the New Kingdom was recently found. The father advised his son to "have the policemen in his street as his best friend, don't make him angry, give him some of the goods you have when there is a celebration or a holiday, and always ask him to pray with you."
The Egyptian Police During The Greco-roman and Ptolemaic Period
Despite the excellent and friendly relations of ancient times, relations with the police worsened during the Ptolemaic period. The police officers that the Egyptians always chose became the Greeks, and the Egyptians regarded them as foreigners whose aim was to collect as much money as possible. However, circumstances changed at the end of the Ptolemaic period in Egypt as the Ptolemies. Then, the Romans assigned some Egyptians as policemen, and this helped the police system to function in a better way in general. However, the leadership of the police remained under the Roman authorities.
The Egyptian Police During The Islamic Period
When the Muslims entered Egypt in 641 A.D., Egypt witnessed a radical change in the notion of the police system. The Arabs had their vision concerning the work of the police, which appeared with the name "the night watchers" during the reign of Omar Ibn El Khattab, one of the first caliphs who came to rule over the Arab world after the prophet Mohammed's death.
Police activities were more organized during the reign of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the fourth caliph after the prophet Mohammed. The head of the police during the Islamic period in Egypt was in a critical position and was regarded as the caliph's deputy. He was chosen from the elite sector of the community.
The police system did not change a lot during the subsequent periods of the Islamic period in Egypt, except when the police were divided into two categories, one to protect the people of Cairo and the other to protect the people of Al Fustat, during the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt. This system remained as it was until the Ottomans took control of Egypt in 1516, when a general state of lawlessness spread all over Egypt, especially with the quarrels and clashes taking place between the Ottomans from one side and the rest of the Mamluks from the other side. This conflict between these two powers was the main reason that allowed the French invasion of Napoleon Bonaparte to enter Egypt quickly, and this state of lawlessness never disappeared until Mohamed Ali came to rule over Egypt in 1805.
The Egyptian Police During The Reign Of Mohamed Ali
Mohamed Ali started to regulate the work of the police system in Egypt, and the tasks of the police during his reign became even more, and it began to take the form of the modern police we know today. In addition to protecting public buildings and associations, new departments and missions were added to the police system. This included the customs police and the secret police, whose missions were to disguise in the clothes of street vendors, monitor the movements of the wealthy men who opposed the government of Mohamed Ali and his royal family, and send reports to the higher authorities of the government.
The first decree to prevent police officers from using violence against the people of Egypt was in 1858. When Khedive Ismail came to power in 1863, he called two Italian officers and made them form the police system. This was the first time the word "police" appeared in Egypt. The word is Latin, with some Greek origins. It means civilization and urbanization, and a city can never be civilized unless its inhabitants feel secure.
Establishment Of The Police Museum In The Citadel
The Police Museum in the Citadel was officially opened in 1984. The building was the Citadel's military prison, which was transformed into the police museum via a decree from former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
Displays In The Police Museum
The most remarkable feature that attracts the eye of the guest as he climbs the stairs to enter the Police National Museum in the Saladin Citadel in Cairo is the large stone to the right, which seems to guard the museum.
The first passageway of the Police Museum displays some portraits of the ministers of the interior throughout modern Egyptian history. There are some photos of the ministers from the beginning of the 20th century to the recent people responsible for the country's interior affairs.
The first hall of displays in the Police Museum hosts several weapons that the Egyptian Police used in different eras of Egyptian history. This includes a large wooden stick used as a shield during the Pharaonic period.
This hall displays an extensive collection of modern weapons, such as guns and pistols, mainly manufactured by the British. During their occupation of Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century, the British imported many of their products.
The Role of the Egyptian Police
The role of the Egyptian police was not only to protect the inhabitants against the threats of thieves and thugs. The police in Egypt played a significant role in stimulating the people to achieve the revolution of 1952 after the severe clashes the Egyptian police had with the British forces that were occupying Egypt in 1952 in Ismailia, one of the Egyptian cities located on the western shores of the Suez Canal in 1951.
The next hall of the Police Museum illustrates the battles in Ismailia in 1951 through many real photographs of the officers who participated in this battle, several paintings, and some weapons used.
Next, the guests enter the most exciting section of the Police Museum in the citadel of Cairo, the crime and criminals hall. This section includes the photos and the stories of several of the most famous criminals in Egypt. The most notable exhibit of the Police Museum would be the photos of Reyya and Sakina, most probably the most well-known criminals in the modern history of Egypt. With more than three movies, a play, and a television series telling their story, these two sisters were among the sneakiest, worst murderers Egypt ever witnessed.
Reyya and Sakina
The two sisters used to live in Alexandria at the beginning of the 20th century and were working as the head of a large gang of prostitutes. Reyya and Sakina used to welcome women into their houses, murder them with the help of their husbands, and then bury their victims in a courtyard that was located inside their houses. The two sisters succeeded in killing more than 30 women before being caught. The Egyptian Police of Alexandria spent a long period of time in order to discover the secret of the two sisters and the police were able eventually to capture them. Even during the long investigation process, it was very hard for the general attorney to prove that the two sisters were responsible for the murders.
Although the displays of the Police Museum in the Saladin Citadel in Cairo are not as massive as some other museums, the museum is always worth a visit, especially since it is so close to other amazing sights insight Saladin's Citadel such as the Mosque of Mohamed Ali, the Military Museum, and the Gawhara Palace Museum.
Hours Of Operation
Included in the entrance to the Citadel