Towards the end of a speech to senior officers of the security forces made in 2015, Sayyed Ali Khamenei reminded them of the duties and prerogatives of the police in a State governed by the Rule of Law. He refers in particular to the Baltimore events and the violence and discrimination against Black people in America, but given the escalating events over the last few days, his words ring truer now more than ever.
Below are a few bullet points from the video above:
- The Police Force is the manifestation of the authority of the State in establishing security. One of the responsibilities of the State is to establish both moral and social security in society. Therefore the police should have power and be able with decisiveness and authority, but this should not be confused with showing oppression.
- In America, the police are very powerful, but they kill innocent people. This kind of power is not ideal as it is accompanied by oppression and will eventually lead to insecurity rather than security. The oppressions and abuse of power by police is common in a world that is indifferent to spiritual values.
- Ironically, America despite having a black president and a day designated to celebrate the abolition of slavery, continue to oppress black people There is historical research which argues that they did not abolish slavery out of altruistic motives about equality rather it was to resolve the fight between the North and the South. It was a fight between landowners and agriculture, and industry.
- In any case, we want complete authority and power accompanied by justice, kindness and mercy – in certain cases, power should be accompanied by mercy. This is the manifestation of Islam. On the one hand, Allah (God) is Beneficent and Merciful and on the other hand, He is a Great Punisher. These two things need to be considered together. This notion of the balance between these attributes should affect our lives, behaviour and affairs. The same thing should be done in the Police Force.
- Observing the law is very important. You should see in which places the law is violated and then you should confront it. Another aspect of observing the law is in the Police Force itself. The members of the Police Force should observe the law inside the organization in the true sense of the word.
- Another issue is the moral health of the personnel in the Police Force. You should not take lightly the issue of the moral health of the personnel. The police are different from other military forces. They are among the people and the people are in contact with them. God forbid, any wrongdoing, flaw, problem, misbehavior and wrong measure will immediately be reflected. This is the case for the Police Force more than any other organization.
- If there is any problem, wrongdoing and treachery, it will immediately spread among the people. When it spreads, it is not only the reputation of the Police Force that will be ruined. Rather, everyone’s reputation will be ruined. As we said, the Police Force is the representative of the government. It is the representative of the State among the people. This is why you should attach great significance to the moral health of the personnel.
The transcript of the full speech can be found here.