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Iran: Police to deploy women officers for first time since Islamic Revolution

Tehran, Jan 4, IRNA -- The Police force intends to deploy female officers for the first time after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The commander of the Kowsar High Disciplinary Training Complex, affiliated to the Police Academy, Mohtaram Masoud-Manesh said, "More than 400 second Lieutenant policewomen will start their activities at different police stations throughout the country as of next September."

Speaking to IRNA, she said there had been women police officers before the Islamic Revolution but after the revolution due to the special conditions, women were banned from working as officers and all of them were give administrative jobs.

Masoud-Manesh who works in the capacity of brigadier general said that the women who served in Basij (volunteer forces) during the wartime (1980-88 war imposed by Iraq on Iran) were also clerks who despite holding military positions did not have military ranks.

The commander of the high training complex added that the policewomen would hold the same ranks as their male colleagues and their promotion would be based on the existing laws and regulations.

"Policewomen would wear overall, trousers and scarves but would use different uniforms depending on the occasion and operation which include routine uniform, formal uniform, special overalls and even ski suit," she noted.

Masoud-Manesh stressed that a beautiful pancho uniform had been designed for them, adding that chador (all-covering veil) was not obligatory during operations.

"Their uniform will be designed so that the Islamic hijab of policewomen would not be used against them," she said.

A special vest has been designed for women to wear during operations which will make it easy for them to engage in gun battles with criminals, she further elaborated.

Their ranks would be attached to their shoulders or their sleeves, she said.

"The training of the female cadets are the same as those of men except for a two percent difference involving use of heavy weapons such as mortar launchers, anti-aircraft guns and heavy machine guns that are not in proportion to the physical condition of women."

Their training, she said, will include judo, taekwondo, karate, shooting with pistols and rifles, telecommunication, map-reading, computer, skiing, swimming and driving.

In case of willingness, the female cadets will be trained to use sharp weapons for defense or attack when necessary, she said.

The undergraduate courses offer subjects in the six pathways of disciplinary, crime discovery, traffic control, computer sciences, intelligence and administrative, and the graduates would start their activities in one of these fields at police stations throughout the country.

She said that policewomen would be deployed as bodyguard for female personalities according to their ranks and mission in later stages.

On the reaction of the society and male colleagues to the presence of female police officers, Masoud-Manesh admitted that women had not been welcomed one hundred percent by their male colleagues in disciplinary and military activities in the world.

"Non-acceptance by male colleagues is the problem policewomen are facing even in Europe," she said while referring to the complaints of policewomen in some European countries.

"But with respect to our culture and the value system we have in Iran, policewomen have been welcomed remarkably," she said.

At present, the cadets are spending a working day at the police stations cooperating with their male colleagues. She said that their male colleagues have welcomed them very well and their presence has been assessed as "positive" with respect to their performance and potentials.

She argued that deployment of policewomen is not merely due to increase in the number of female criminals.

"The measure is intended to offer services to non-criminal and modest women and keeping the environment safe for this strata."

She rejected that policewomen are being trained in order to merely handle the cases of women and children saying that the female police officers would even participate in operations and missions as per decisions.

Masoud-Manesh said she believed "a police officer should be first of all a good legal expert, a psychologist and a sociologist, and will take up arms as the last resort."

She disagreed with the highly supported belief that policing was one of the world's most masculinized occupations saying, "From my point of view, policing is a thoroughly feminine occupation."

She opined that "as I said earlier, if we look up at the issue from the last to first so that violence would be given priority then it is a masculinized job but if we view it according to the order as I mentioned, it is a hundred percent feminine job."

The Kowsar complex operates under the license of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology and its students are admitted through the nationwide university entrance exam.

The age requirement ranges between 17 and 21 and the minimum height is 163 cm. The applicants should have a high school average mark of 14 out of 20 and have to undergo sports and physical tests before final admission.

The first batch of female cadets were admitted in 1999.

... Payvand News - 1/4/03 ... --

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